National Journal commentator Ron Fournier called it “frankly insulting to the American public” that President Barack Obama would claim social media is driving a mistaken perception of a dangerous world.
Fournier spoke on MSNBC’s “The Cycle” Tuesday about the White House’s next moves against ISIS, the radical Islamic terror group that beheaded James Foley on Aug. 19, and a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, on Tuesday.
The journalist said that Obama needs to “explain very honestly to the public what it is he’s doing, and to at least look like he’s taking this seriously . . . In this kind of situation, optics are important. It’s not just your sense of communicating to the public how grave this is, but also the messages you’re sending to our enemies.”
MSNBC host Josh Barro asked Fournier about the best way to explain to Americans “the existence of terrible problems in the world that the United States can’t necessarily do anything productive about. Is there a way to say that without looking weak?”
“You just did a pretty good job,” Fournier replied. “What you don’t say is, ‘Oh, you know what? The world is safer than it was twenty years ago. The only difference is now that people have social media, and they can see how horrible the world is.’”
“That’s what he said last Friday,” he continued. “Frankly, that’s insulting to the American public. We knew before social media how scary the world is, and we know that in a lot of ways it’s scarier now — and that’s not just because of social media. Hey Mr. President, there was media before there was social media.”
Fournier concluded by urging Obama to “treat the threat, rhetorically, as seriously as I presume he’s treating it in the situation room.”