Over the last 48 hours, as President Obama contemplated and then authorized U.S.-led military strikes in Libya “in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians,” Fox News talking heads have attempted to foment domestic political opposition to the president by questioning his priorities and leadership. Seizing on Obama’s current five-day trip to Brazil and other Latin American countries, Fox pundits have repeatedly said he is distracted in Rio de Janeiro and not adequately focused on the military action in Libya.
“He’s going on vacation; he’s going to Rio!” an incredulous Steve Doocy commented. “He’s on vacation in Rio,” Fox contributor Ralph Peters said, echoing the network’s attack. Referencing Rio, Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt opined, “President Obama has absolutely abdicated his role as leader of the free world.” Watch a compilation:
Obama’s pre-scheduled Latin American trip is intended to strengthen the U.S.’s trading role with some of the world’s fastest growing markets. But the agenda of the trip has been overshadowed, as Obama has turned his focus to Libya.
Perhaps Fox News pundits should read Fox News’ website. Here’s how Fox’s White House reporter Eve Zibel, who is traveling with Obama on the trip, reported on the president’s priorities on his first day:
Libya Dominates President Obama’s First Day in South America
On the first day of President Obama’s first trip to South America, it was not relations with Brazil or its president that was front and center, but instead, attention was directly focused on Libya and the start of military action.
On a Fox website, a Reuters report states, “Obama’s only planned sightseeing in Rio will be to the city’s iconic Christ the Redeemer hilltop statue, and even that had to be postponed from morning until evening to give him time for early briefings on the Libyan situation.”
Despite the evidence from news reports on Fox’s own websites that Obama is focused on Libya, network pundits continue to seize on any shallow criticism of the Commander-in-Chief.