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Media Continues to Fumble Inquiries Into Recruiter Shooting Statement

All Posts  June 17 2009
 — By CJ Grisham

The White House continues to fumble the ball with respect to the killing of a military recruiter and attempted murder of another in Arkansas two weeks ago. I’ve personally engaged the White House for a response and have asked repeatedly for the official statement regarding the shooting of the recruiters. Each time I have been met with deflection. No statement has yet to be produced to me.

A few days ago the questions was raised during a press conference with Robert Gibbs and the question was raised by the state media about this very topic.

Q A couple questions. The shooting today at the Holocaust Museum, combined with the shooting of Dr. Tiller, as well as the shooting of the military recruiter in Little Rock — is the White House at all concerned that there is some sort of trend of political violence or domestic terrorism going on?

MR. GIBBS: Jake, I would want to ask somebody in law enforcement if they see links such as that. I don’t think it would be wise for me to surmise something like that. I think, as the President said in a statement after the shooting of Dr. Tiller, that regardless of disagreeing or disparate viewpoints obviously in our society, this is not in any way the type of action that anybody wants to see in settling even the most vehement disputes. But it’s hard for me to surmise without having a more in-depth conversation with law enforcement.

Q This is really just out of curiosity more than anything — how do you guys decide which acts of violence prompt a White House response and which ones won’t? There was a statement that went out about Dr. Tiller. How was the decision made that that would get a presidential statement whereas the military recruiter in Arkansas shooting would not?

MR. GIBBS: Well, I believe a statement did go to many stations in Arkansas regarding that.

Q Oh, okay, it did? Okay.

For some reason, I get flashbacks to the Saturday Night Live Weekend Update skits, “Really?!” I mean, really! A REAL reporter would follow up with, “Oh okay, it did? Can you provide that please?” Or, “why wasn’t it provided nationally like all the other statements?” Or, “Why wasn’t the Dr. Tiller statement only released in Kansas like the Arkansas shooting statement?”

The facts are this: there was no statement. The White House has yet to release one and is embarrassed that they screwed this up. That has to be the reason.

When I wrote my last post, I mentioned another part of the email that I was withholding pending more information. That information never came. Therefore, I think it’s important that the rest of my correspondence be made public now because it really speaks volumes about this administrations treatment of our troops.

On June 11th, I received an email from a Senior Administration official in response to my query about the absence of an official statement. In that communication, the official made the following comment that I initially refrained from publishing: “… the President is attempting to call the family of Army Pvt Long.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES does not ATTEMPT to call any families of murdered troops. Within 24 hours of the shooting, the media was already interviewing Mr. Daris Long, father of PVT William Long who was killed in the shooting. 11 days after the shooting the President was still “attempting to call” the family?! Really?!

This smacks of disrespect for our troops. This smacks of a cover-up by the media, incompetence from the White House staff, and lack of follow-through from the most senior people in the administration. We can’t get a simple statement about the murder of our troops on American soil by a sworn enemy of the United States, but we’ll get a statement from the President regarding New Zealand tax protocol. We got a statement on the Holocaust Museum shooting. But, when I asked for a statement, I’m directed to a fake excerpt of a statement provided in a link by the AP instead of the actual statement. To add insult to injury, after 11 days the President is still “attempting” to contact the family. The leader of the most powerful nation on earth (well, it used to be) can’t get in a phone call in nearly two weeks? Come on. Really?!

(9) Readers Comments

  1. CJ, Don’t worry, the white house has got your back. They support the military… Right.

  2. Quite pathetic.

  3. This administration nixed the prosecution of some black panthers who were actually video taped intimidating voters in 2008 and here they “seem” to support shooting our soldiers on the streets of America … scares me …

  4. CJ, thanks for following up on this. The non-response from the WH has just stuck in my craw.

  5. Ugly, ugly.

    Have you tried the AP route? Maybe ask them how they got a copy? Could be interesting…

  6. worrisome…..all of it

  7. Just for curiosity’s sake I timed how long it took me to locate a number for Private Long’s family to give the President the benefit of the doubt. Sorry to say that it was under 1 minute start to finish. Hmmm.

  8. I’m sure Obama and the media see this as just another “distraction” from the all important goal of getting national health care passed. It’s just a little oversight, right? What’s the big deal? Still, isn’t it exceedingly strange that a man who prides himelf on his speech, and ridiculed the idea that his speeches were “just words,” couldn’t be bothered to find the right words on this terrible occasion. Judging by Obama’s own standard that words are important, it tells us everything we need to know about how he views the military, and the men and women who serve in it.

  9. I wrote a letter to the President complaining about this matter and have yet to get a reply. I don’t think I’ll hold my breath. It quotes the entire, lackluster statement that was released in Arkansas — and apparently only in Arkansas — 3 days after the murder. You can read it here: http://moogiep.blogspot.com/2009/06/american-soldier-slaughtered-on.html

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