Crediting Obama For Captain’s Rescue?

Michael Crowley, writing at TNR yesterday, on press coverage of The Pirate Story :

Predictably if somewhat absurdly, news commentary this weekend (the Stephanopoulos roundtable, for instance) was beginning to suggest that Barack Obama would be held accountable by the public for the fate of captured ship captain Richard Phillips.

Well, now Phillips has been rescued, and early accounts are emphasizing that Obama personally authorized the use of force. And while Obama probably doesn’t deserve much actual credit—that would belong mainly to the badass snipers who took out three pirates in a moment—methinks he’s going to get it, starting on all the network morning shows tomorrow.

Just watched the morning network shows’ pirate-related coverage; Crowley’s prediction didn’t pan out. While the president having authorized use of force was mentioned, in passing, during these morning show segments, if “credit” was given it was to the Navy snipers… and luck… and… the ship’s captain.

Crowley did find, in today’s Washington Post, this instance of what he flags “pushing the analysis a bit far:”

But the result — a dramatic and successful rescue operation by U.S. Special Operations forces — left Obama with an early victory that could help build confidence in his ability to direct military actions abroad…

…if, I suppose, you previously had no confidence whatsoever in this president’s ability to do that. (And to you, “a senior White House official” says, via the Post, that the handling and outcome of this Pirate Situation “is the latest indication that the national security team is working well together. These folks have spent a lot of time together, including with the president, in the first couple months, and they have a good working relationship.”)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.