Right-Wing Madness Over Obama's NCAA Tournament Bracket

››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

Right-wing media personalities continued their tradition of attacking President Obama for filling out NCAA college basketball brackets, this time attacking Obama for filling it out while Russia annexed Crimea.

President Obama Creates Bracket For NCAA Tournament

Politico: "Obama Reveals Final Four Bracket Picks." A March 19 Politico article reports on Obama's NCAA college basketball bracket:

As America settles in for another round of March Madness, its basketball fan in chief is releasing his bracket for the NCAA College Basketball Championships.

President Barack Obama is picking No. 4 seed Michigan State to win the men's tournament, ESPN revealed Wednesday morning. [Politico3/19/14]

Right-Wing Media Attack Obama For Filling Out His NCAA Tournament Bracket

Fox Declares: "Obama Picks NCAA Bracket While Putin Declares Crimea As Part Of Russia." On the March 19 edition of Fox News' The Five, co-host Eric Bolling claimed "President Obama was picking brackets when Vladimir Putin was in Red Square being very very Russian." Fox's on-air graphic proclaimed, "Obama Picks NCAA Bracket While Putin Declares Crimea As Part Of Russia." [Fox News, The Five, 3/19/14]

Rush Limbaugh: Obama Is Filling Out His March Madness Picks While Putin "Is Reassembling The Soviet Union." During the March 19 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh attacked Obama for filling out his NCAA tournament bracket while Vladimir Putin "is reassembling the Soviet Union": 

LIMBAUGH: Well, here's a headline that says it all: "Vladimir Putin Redraws Russian Borders; Obama Unveils Bracket Picks." Does that not say it all? Vladimir Putin is reassembling the Soviet Union, and while all that's going on, Obama is filling out his March Madness bracket picks. In fact, that is such a big story that CNN broke away from the coverage of the Malaysian airliner disappearance to report on Obama filling out his NCAA March Madness bracket picks. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show3/19/14, via Media Matters]

Sean Hannity: "The President Busy Today, He's Doing His Brackets For The NCAA Tournament. That's Really Important." On the March 13 edition of his radio show, Sean Hannity mocked Obama for filling out his NCAA tournament bracket, saying:

HANNITY: But don't worry, the President is on top of all of this today, including the Ukraine and Vladimir Putin. We now have, apparently, the president busy today; he's doing his brackets for the NCAA tournament. That's really important. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show3/19/14]

Fox's Steve Hayes: President Obama's Bracket "Is Not A Serious Response" To Crisis In Ukraine. On the March 19 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox contributor Steve Hayes accused the president of failing to issue a "serious response" to a Russian takeover in Ukraine, opting instead to fill out his NCAA bracket:

HAYES: This is a disgrace. The way that the President of the United States and his administration is handling this is so unserious on so many different levels. You heard from the NATO Secretary General that this is a crisis, it's a crisis like we haven't seen in decades. What's President Obama doing? He's filling out his NCAA bracket. He's hosting a film ceremony for Cesar Chavez. This is not a serious response to what is, I think, a real crisis. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier3/19/14

Fox's Charles Krauthammer: Obama Is "Completely Unserious ... While He's Working On The Brackets For The NCAA, Things Are Not Stable" In Ukraine. On Special Report, Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer agreed with Hayes and said that Obama is "completely unserious about the gravity of the situation ... and while he's working on the brackets for the NCAA, things are not stable." [Fox News, Special Report3/19/14]

The Weekly Standard: "Vladimir Putin Has Claimed Crimea ... And Barack Obama Is Filling Out His NCAA 'March Madness' Basketball Bracket." In a March 19Weekly Standard blog post, online editor Daniel Halper criticized Obama for filling out his NCAA tournament bracket "for [the] sixth straight year":

Vladimir Putin has claimed Crimea. Obamacare premiums are about to skyrocket. And Barack Obama is filling out his NCAA "March Madness" basketball bracket. [The Weekly Standard3/19/14]

National Review Online: "Putin Redraws Russian Borders; Obama Unveils Bracket Picks." In his weekly roundup of midweek news stories called the "Morning Jolt," National Review Online's Jim Geraghty used headlines from the Crimean crisis in Ukraine to chastise Obama for filling out his NCAA tournament bracket. [National Review Online, 3/19/14]

Breitbart: "Pieces Of Ukraine Are Falling Apart And The Health Care Plan's A Mess. But We Finally Have A President Who Really Knows Basketball." Breitbart lampooned Obama's bracket picks as "elitist" for picking higher ranked teams, adding:

That's pretty good. Pieces of Ukraine are falling apart and the health care plan's a mess. But we finally have a president who really knows basketball, and for the next three weeks that's all that matters. Thank goodness for distractions. [Breitbart, 3/18/14]

Right-Wing Media Has Attacked Obama For Creating NCAA Brackets In The Past 

Salon Points Out Past "Right-Wing Freakouts Over Obama's Bracket." A March 19 post on Salon highlighted right-wing media's past responses to Obama's yearly tradition of filling out his NCAA bracket:

As he does every year, President Obama unveiled his picks for the NCAA March Madness tournament on Wednesday. And as he does every year, the president decided to play it safe, mostly choosing top-seeded teams and predicting a final matchup between four perennial contenders. It's a bit boring, really, even if Obama's correct prediction in 2009 of a North Carolina championship makes it harder to knock his system.

Just as you can expect an Obama prediction on the NCAA every year, you can also expect conservatives to respond with fake outrage over the president taking time from his busy schedule to weigh in on college basketball. The right-wing Obama NCAA bracket freakout is more intense some years than others, but you can always bet that at some point, somewhere, some bored conservative or desperate Republican politician will complain about having a basketball fan as the Commander-in-Chief. [Salon.com, 3/19/14]

Fox Nation: "Japan Melts, Libya Burns, Deficit Grows... And Obama Fills Out NCAA Bracket?" A March 15, 2011 headline on Fox Nation read: "Japan Melts, Libya Burns, Deficit Grows... And Obama Fills Out NCAA Bracket?" However, appearing on the site that same day were posts regarding remarks Obama had made about Japan, domestic gas prices and the conflict in Libya. [Fox Nation, 3/15/11]

HotAir: "Anxious World Looks To White House And Wonders: Who's Obama Picking For The Final Four?" In a March 15, 2011 post to the conservative blog HotAir.com, Allahpundit wrote: "The president was again criticized for making NCAA tournament picks." He added: "As for my own picks: I've got Qaddafi in the Libyan regional, radioactive steam over the containment vessels out east, and China over Duke in the final. At the buzzer."  [HotAir.com, 3/15/11]

Hannity Halted Japan Coverage To Bash Obama For Creating NCAA Brackets. During the March 15, 2011 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity took a break from coverage on the disaster in Japan to attack President Obama for his NCAA bracket:

HANNITY: [O]n Saturday, hours after the quake struck, he went golfing. And later that evening, he attended a dinner with members of the mainstream Obama-mania media, and today the president spent his afternoon filling out his NCAA brackets for ESPN. Sadly, none of this is a joke. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/15/11]

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