Right-wing media have attacked President Obama for his recent comments about shooting victim Trayvon Martin and his family, accusing Obama of "inject[ing]" himself into the debate using "racial code" and claiming that his statement is evidence that "he's got it in for this country."
Obama Expressed Sympathy For Trayvon Martin And His Family
Obama: "If I Had A Son, He'd Look Like Trayvon." In a March 23 appearance to announce Dr. Jim Kim as president of the World Bank, President Obama was asked by a reporter to "comment on the Trayvon Martin case." Obama responded by calling the incident a "tragedy" and saying, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." From the White House:
Q: Mr. President, may I ask you about this current case in Florida, very controversial, allegations of lingering racism within our society -- the so-called do not -- I'm sorry -- Stand Your Ground law and the justice in that? Can you comment on the Trayvon Martin case, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm the head of the executive branch, and the Attorney General reports to me so I've got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we're not impairing any investigation that's taking place right now.
But obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together -- federal, state and local -- to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.
So I'm glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what's taking place. I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.
But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. [White House, 3/23/12]
Right-Wing Media Claim Obama Used "Racial Code" To "Pour Gas On The Fire"
J. Christian Adams: Obama "Injected Himself Into" Martin Case "Using Racial Code." On the March 28 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, former Justice Department employee and right-wing activist J. Christian Adams claimed Obama "injected himself" into the case using "racial code." From Fox & Friends:
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Besides Eric Holder, is there a fear of inflaming race relations if you crack down on people who want to inflame race relations like the Black Panther Party.
ADAMS: Well, there's a fear among some, but there's no fear among people like Al Sharpton. He doesn't care about inflaming race --
KILMEADE: He was there in a matter -- in hours.
ADAMS: That's right. And even the president has inserted himself in a racial way saying that Trayvon looks like he might be his --
KILMEADE: You think wrongly?
ADAMS: Absolutely wrongly. No president in our country's history would have injected himself into a criminal matter using racial code like Barack Obama did. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/28/12, via Media Matters]
Fox's Ablow Offers "Diagnosis" Of Obama's Comments: "He's Got It In For This Country." On the March 27 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight, Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow reacted to Obama's comments by claiming, "It's irresistible to this president to enter the fray when there seems to be an opportunity for a kind of furious splitting," and said that his "diagnosis" of the president is, "He's got it in for this country." From Lou Dobbs Tonight:
ABLOW: It is outrageous to me. It's beneath the office to be reaching into one case as opposed to many others. There are tragedies, believe me, I am a forensic psychiatrist. There are enough tragedies to go around that if the president wanted to comment on all of them, that would be his whole job. It's irresistible to this president to enter the fray when there seems to be an opportunity for a kind of furious splitting. How can I make a comment that aligns with those I feel are oppressed, and marginalizes those I feel have been oppressive? And that is a call to the president he can't seem to resist.
ABLOW: It's time, probably -- it's been overdue that we believe the data. Like as a psychiatrist, there is a certain point when you get a diagnosis. You say, "OK, look, absent something that refutes this, this is the diagnosis." A president who hangs around with Reverend Wright, whose wife said she was never proud of this country, has an edge. He's got it in for this country. At moments when there is an opportunity to fracture the unity, he does. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/27/12, via Media Matters]
Fox's Dobbs: The Trayvon Martin "Controversy" Was "In Part Created By The President Himself." Earlier on the March 27 Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs claimed:
DOBBS: As we reported here yesterday, it's highly unusual for the president to comment on shootings publicly, even the hundreds of shooting deaths that have taken place in his hometown of Chicago each year since he took office. They've gone without presidential comment. So why would his campaign suddenly advertise hooded sweatshirts in the middle of a national controversy in part created by the president himself? [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/27/12, via Media Matters]
Malkin: "Barack Obama Is All Too Willing To Pour Gas On The Fire" Of The Martin Story. In a March 23 post on her blog, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin wrote:
This week, progressives and lib media activists elevated a tragic Florida shooting involving a 17-year-old boy into the cause celebre of the week. Over at my new startup, Twitchy, our editorial team has covered all aspects of the story. But for the past several days, zealous libs on Twitter have demanded that I "say something." Why? Because they've turned the horrible death of Trayvon Martin into a racial litmus test.
And now, Barack Obama is all too willing to pour gas on the fire.
What do Trayvon's race and looks have to do with anything? The political opportunism undercuts the very "seriousness" Obama purports to display. [MichelleMalkin.com, 3/23/12]
Daily Caller Suggests Obama "Jumped Into The Fight" Due In Part To "Demands By The New Black Panthers." In a March 23 post, Daily Caller reporter Matthew Boyle suggested Obama "jumped into the fight" following "demands by the New Black Panthers and others on scene in Sanford, Fla." From The Daily Caller:
Obama and the White House had previously refrained from commenting on the case. Following demands by the New Black Panthers and others on scene in Sanford, Fla. that the White House get involved, Obama jumped into the fight. When first asked about the case, White House spokesman Jay Carney essentially declined comment, offering a boilerplate statement of condolence to Martin's family. [The Daily Caller, 3/23/12]
Hoft Reacts To Obama's Statement By Claiming Obama Thinks, "It's All About Me!" In a March 23 post on Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft wrote: "It's all about me! Barack Obama says, 'If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon.' Funny how everything always revolves around planet Obama, huh?" [Gateway Pundit, 3/23/12, emphasis in original]