Smarmy Sanchez, Part 1: Smearing Lincoln to Support Obama
Editor’s Note: This is the first in an ongoing series in which NewsReal’s Paul Cooper focuses on the exploits of CNN’s Jon Stewart-wannabe, the clownish embarrassment Rick Sanchez.
If you can make up recent history with attributing false quotes to Rush, what is there stopping you from completely distorting how two of the most popular US Presidents of all time handled the press? Obviously nothing. CNN’s Rick Sanchez has proven once again that truth and research is not needed on CNN’s mid-day programming.
This week Sanchez decided the best way to defend President Obama’s war with Fox News was to equate the tactic with other US Presidents. I am assuming his argument is that if other people did something similar – well than it’s okay for Obama to do it. (Apparently two wrongs make a right.) Sanchez said Obama’s treatment of the press was no different than Presidents Richard Nixon, Franklin Roosevelt, or even Abraham Lincoln.
Sanchez: “Is this media throw-down unprecedented or even unique?… The answer to that question is no. Richard M. Nixon kept an enemies list of journalists that he essentially hated. Franklin Roosevelt made one New York Times reporter wear a dunce cap at press briefings. He hated the guy so much he decided to humiliate him in front of his peers. Heck! Listen to this one! Abraham Lincoln issued executive orders to have certain reporters and editors arrested and held in military prisons… because he deemed their work irresponsible.”
Sanchez finishes that off by smugly saying people should “know a little bit about their own history.” Well okay Rick, let’s see how well you know your history since you are reporting these things as fact.
Sanchez’s comparison to Nixon proves a pretty good one. Nixon did have an enemies list that included people in the press that he wanted to bring down. Many have rightfully made that comparison to the Obama administration’s direct attack on Fox News that we’ve heard so much about lately. However, Sanchez doesn’t want to leave Obama in that light so he adds two Presidents that are often listed in a top 3 or 5 of greatest American Presidents. That’s the real company he wants Obama in. However, this is when Sanchez decides to play around with history.
Did FDR actually make a New York Times journalist wear a dunce cap at multiple press briefings because he hated him and wanted to humiliate him? Nope. Sanchez’s reference is about a famous one time moment with NYT journalist Robert Post. According to the book The Writing 69th, Post and Roosevelt became good friends while Post covered the White House from 1936-1937. During one press conference Post pressed Roosevelt about running for a third term. Roosevelt joked to avoid the question. Post continued to press harder, so Roosevelt told Post,
“Bob, go put on the dunce cap and stand in the corner.”
The press saw it as a symbol of how Roosevelt liked to duck hard questions.
That was it. FDR did not hate Post. He never made him wear a dunce cap once – let alone at multiple briefings. He simply gave a snide remark to avoid a question he didn’t like. In fact, when Roosevelt did win a third term, Post sent a joking reply back:
“Who’s the dunce now?”
You simply cannot compare this act to a President deciding to go to war with the top news network on cable. Obama is attacking Fox News and publicly challenging their status as a news organization.
Sanchez also mentions Lincoln imprisoning journalists and editors simply because he deemed them as “irresponsible.” Sanchez offers no context to that statement. He merely makes it as a way to say “Hey, you love Lincoln and he’s way worse than Obama.” Of course history gives us some helpful context.
On May 18, 1864 Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order to arrest some of the journalists and editors of two New York publications that printed and published what they knew to be a forged Presidential proclamation calling for 400,000 more troops and a new draft. It was an act of treason to raise up resistance to the Union during a time of war. The act warranted imprisonment.
Again, Lincoln’s situation and Obama’s attack of Fox News should not be mentioned together. The two situations don’t even vaguely have any points of comparison.
To use history and the legacy of Roosevelt and Lincoln in this way is journalistic fraud. And Sanchez does it to help excuse Obama for his poor behavior. When will CNN realize their on air talent is short on talent and should not be on air?
Paul Cooper is a featured blogger for NewsReal. His bio can be found here.