By George E. Curry, Media Columnist
Not even President Obama would argue it was the best of timing.
While he was on the first leg of a two-stop trip to mend a 50-year non-relationship with Cuba and a 20-isolation from Argentina, terrorists attacked Brussels. Instead of rushing home, which would serve as propaganda for terrorists, Obama continued his scheduled journey.
But instead of being applauded for his resolve, the president was attacked for everything from attending a baseball ball game in Cuba to dancing the tango at a State Dinner in Argentina.
Andrew Napolitano said on Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends, “At a time when we have a crisis, is that the impression that he wants to convey? He’s a great dancer and maybe he didn’t want to change his plans. But I’m not so sure he should be doing that when everybody else is worried about where ISIS is, who they’re going to kill next, and are they going to come over here. Perhaps he should be giving a different impression of strength and preservation of freedom and safety.”
Aside from the reality of President Obama having access to the same tools he would have had if he had returned to Washington, he is being held to a different standard.
Bernard Goldberg, a former CBS broadcaster, acknowledged, “…too often conservatives on radio and television wouldn’t give Barack Obama credit if he found a cure for cancer. Look, we need honest analysis, and too often what we’re getting is not honest opinion journalism.”
That’s the understatement of the year.
As was pointed out by this website, “A particularly intolerable meme continues to play out in the news media and online: apparently U.S. history began on January 20, 2009 when Barack Obama was inaugurated. In case you were unaware, President Obama is evidently the first president to take vacations; he’s the first president to play golf; he’s the first president to be photographed without a suit or tie; and he’s the first president to routinely use a teleprompter. If you believe any of that, then you’re a moron who needs to refresh your memory about all things pre-2009. There you’ll find that not only are Obama’s vacations and so forth in line with most previous presidents, but in terms of overall time off, he’s taken the fewest vacation days of any modern president other than Bill Clinton.
“The latest round of outrage directed at the president has to do with his so-called ‘bad optics’ – allegedly inappropriate non-presidential behavior. In this latest case, Obama’s crazy decision to remain in Cuba for his historic reopening of U.S./Cuban relations following the dual terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday. A cursory check of AM talk radio, Fox News Channel and conservative Twitter reveals the usual double-standard and historical amnesia we’ve seen over and over again.”
To refresh their memories:
EVENT, October 10, 1981 — The funeral of assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
REAGAN OPTICS, October 10, 1981 — Reagan went horseback riding at Camp David.
EVENT, August 29, 1983 — Two Marines were killed and 14 wounded in Beirut.
REAGAN OPTICS, August 29, 1983 — Reagan remained on vacation at Rancho Del Cielo, California.
EVENT, September 1, 1983 — Reagan was still on vacation in California when the Soviets shot down Korean Airlines Flight 007.
REAGAN OPTICS, September 1, 1983 — According to Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace, as well as contemporaneous accounts, Reagan planned to remain on vacation until he was photographed horseback riding and was convinced to return to the White House.
EVENT, October 22, 1983 — The administration began planning its military incursion into Grenada.
REAGAN OPTICS, October 22, 1983 — Reagan remained on vacation at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Repeat: golf resort.
EVENT, July 18, 1984 — 21 people were killed and 19 wounded when a gunman entered a San Ysidro, California McDonald’s and opened fire.
REAGAN OPTICS, July 21, 1984 — On the day when many of the gun massacre victims were to be buried, Reagan went horseback riding at Camp David.
EVENT, April 2, 1986 — Four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack at a TWA counter at the Athens Airport, Greece.
REAGAN OPTICS, April 4, 1986 — Two days later, here’s Reagan’s uber-presidential optics, while on vacation (!!) at Rancho Del Cielo.
EVENT, September 5, 1986 — The Pakistani military stormed the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73. Twenty-two people were killed, including two Americans, and 150 were injured.
REAGAN OPTICS, September 6, 1986 — Again, while on vacation at his California ranch, Reagan went horseback riding with the First Lady and was photographed with a “Just Say No” sign.
On top of that, conservatives had the temerity to criticize First Lady Michelle Oabma’s decision to showcase her well-sculptured shoulders early in the Obama presidency. Yet Donald Trump’s wife can expose more intimate body parts on the cover of magazines and expect to receive a pass.
George E. Curry is President and CEO of George Curry Media, LLC. He is the former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA). He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Website, georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at twitter.com/currygeorge, George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook, and Periscope. See previous columns at http://www.- georgecurry.com/columns.