by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Barack Obama left the White House nearly two years ago. But David French argues at National Review Online that the media’s skewed approach toward the former president has an ongoing impact on American policy debates.
One of the more frustrating aspects of our current political debate is the extent to which differences from administration to administration are exaggerated and distorted. Let’s take, for example, media coverage of the Obama administration. To this day, the inaccurate picture of his presidency haunts American discourse. While there are obvious differences with the Trump administration, Obama was not exactly the man who many millions of Americans think he was.
He was a peace president who ordered ten times more drone strikes than George W. Bush. He was the peace president who left office with American boots on the ground in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, and scattered across North Africa. His administration refueled Saudi jets to enable the indiscriminate Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen. Oh, and he droned American citizens abroad without even a nod to due process.
He was the environmentalist president so hostile to fossil fuels that he presided over an extraordinary boom in domestic oil production. …
… He was the compassionate president who admitted a grand total of fewer than 2,000 Syrian refugees in the first five years of the Syrian civil war. He was the compassionate president whose deportations peaked at an average of 34,000 people in fiscal year 2012.
I share these facts not to argue that there aren’t distinct and important differences between Barack Obama and Donald Trump. There are. And those differences manifest themselves in each of the policy categories outlined above. But when discussing differences, gravity and proportion matter. And they matter greatly.