The cable news universe converged into a single point at 4 p.m. EST on Wednesday, with hosts on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC all simultaneously expressing confusion over President Barack Obama’s most recent flip-flop on a strategy to defeat the brutal Islamic terror group ISIS.
On Wednesday morning Obama spoke in Estonia about the need to “degrade and destroy” ISIS — right before he went on to explain his goal of “shrinking” ISIS to a “manageable problem.” By Wednesday afternoon, that disconnect was noticed by all three of the major cable networks.
“Alright, I want you to listen to something, because I’m confused,” Fox News host Neil Cauvto said, playing both clips for his audience. “Destroy or debate? A manageable problem? Maybe that is the problem . . . The president might’ve been wise to stick to his opening remarks and focus on annihilating them.”
Meanwhile, on CNN, Jake Tapper expressed similar concerns. “President Obama vowed to destroy ISIS,” he began. “But then, a few minutes later, he said the goal was to make ISIS a ‘manageable problem.’ So, which is it? . . . President Obama’s seemingly-contradictory remarks might make it difficult to know exactly what he thinks — especially after ISIS beheaded a second American.”
Even MSNBC got in on the action, with guest host Luke Russert playing both clips side-by-side. “At first, the president offered an uncompromising goal,” he said. “[But] later, the president appeared to mitigate that declaration to destroy ISIS . . . With the president already facing criticism from some lawmakers over his ISIS strategy, that remark drew further anger.”