Social Question

aidszee's avatar

Was Candy Crowley biased?

Asked by aidszee (26points) October 17th, 2012

Particularly during libya question. She also wasn’t that good at managing the clock.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

38 Answers

Qingu's avatar

No, she was not. Obama asked for the transcript. Romney continued to press him. So Crowley provided the transcript. Obama did in fact call the attack an act of terrorism at the Rose Garden, one day after.

Crowley also said that the Obama admin “kept on talking about riots from a video for two weeks,” (paraphrase), giving Romney’s point its due—but this was drowned out by audience applause.

wundayatta's avatar

Of course she was biased. Everyone is biased. Is there any point to this question?

Bad clock management? God! I’d hate to have to manage the clock with those two guys. Maybe it could be done if you were allowed to use a taser. Two mods. Two clock management fails. What else is new?

aidszee's avatar

Great observation! Yes everyone is biased. But as a moderator she should not have been.
Just wanted to see what others thought.

wundayatta's avatar

She should not have been? That makes no sense. Everyone is biased for the simple fact that it is impossible not to be unbiased. Not even a God could be unbiased. Why would you expect a moderator to be unbiased?

Qingu's avatar

Whoa. I think we need to be more specific here.

@aidszee, how, exactly, do you think her handling of the Libya question was “biased”? Are you denying that Obama said what he said?

mazingerz88's avatar

No she was not as a moderator. Those who think she was is just projecting their own biases. One possible indication she was not is GOP operatives not criticizing Crowley as biased.

aidszee's avatar

guess it all depends on the context and interpretation.
quick google search on crowley and bias/debate would return many hits on discussions on the topic. just wanted to see what other people thought on this site too.

great site! so many quick responses. what keeps everyone coming back?

Qingu's avatar

@aidszee what context and interpretation would lead you to think that Obama did not call the Benghazi attack was an “act of terror”?

Here is the quote:

“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

And he said it again the next day:

“So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. (Applause.) I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished.”

SpatzieLover's avatar

Was she biased towards one side of the debate? No. She admitted today on TV that she thought Romney & Obama were arguing semantics. For the sake of time she’d clarify for Romney so they could move on to the next subject.

I thought she was a million times better choice as moderator than Jim Lerher.

wundayatta's avatar

@aidszee What sites are you comparing us to? If you’re from Quora, you know you have to actually buy responses using credits. Here, people love to answer questions because they love it. Not because it’s part of the economy.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

No, I don’t believe she was biased. The dynamic in play seemed to be more of Obama willing to stop when she interrupted. Whereas, Romney tried to walk all over her and interrupt her, and she wouldn’t let him.

filmfann's avatar

I thought she was even handed. She should have been tougher on both candidates violating the clock, but she didn’t take sides to my viewing.

ETpro's avatar

One of the best jobs of moderation I have seen. I could not believe that Romney came prepared to slam Obama about Libya and his staff had not even bothered to fact check his line of attack. Ah well, they did say, “We won’t let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”

Oh, and welcome to Fluther, @aidszee. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

bkcunningham's avatar

From FactCheck: There was a sharp exchange between the candidates on the issue of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi and the question of when the president acknowledged it was a terrorist attack. Obama said he called it an “act of terror” the day after the attack. Romney said that “it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”

Obama is correct that he referred to “acts of terror” in a Sept. 12 speech in the Rose Garden. But after that Obama refused to characterize it as a terrorist attack while it was under investigation — even though other administration officials did.

The transcript does show that Obama said in a Rose Garden speech on Sept. 12: “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” That night, he said at a Las Vegas fundraiser: “No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America.” Obama employed the “act of terror” phrase a third time a day later at a campaign event in Colorado.

But Romney isn’t entirely wrong. Romney claimed Obama refused for two weeks after the Benghazi attack to call it a terrorist attack and, instead, blamed it on a spontaneous demonstration in response to an anti-Muslim video that earlier that day triggered a violent protest in Egypt.

The president did seem to suggest in his Rose Garden speech that a reason for the Benghazi attack was the video. Obama said: “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None.”

It is also true that Obama refrained from characterizing the attack as an premeditated act of terrorism. The administration adopted a wait-and-see position, deflecting questions until the investigation into the attack could be completed. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, for example, was asked in a Sept. 17 press briefing if the administration considered the Benghazi attack an act of terror. She said: “Again, I’m not going to put labels on this until we have a complete investigation, okay?”

A day later, Obama was asked about the Benghazi attack on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” The president said “here’s what happened” and began discussing the impact of the anti-Muslim video. He then said “extremists and terrorists used this as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies, including the consulate in Libya.” He also said, “As offensive as this video was and, obviously, we’ve denounced it and the United States government had nothing to do with it. That’s never an excuse for violence.”

Matt Olsen, head of the National Counterterrorism Center, testified on Sept. 19 that it was a “terrorist attack.” He also said the administration still lacked “specific intelligence that there was a significant advanced planning or coordination for this attack.”

A day later, White House press secretary Jay Carney said it is “self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” And on Sept. 21 — two days after Olsen’s testimony — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”

Yet, when asked on ABC’s “The View” whether it was a terrorist attack, Obama refused to say. That was on Sept. 24. He said, “We’re still doing an investigation. There’s no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action. We don’t have all the information yet, so we’re still gathering it.”

The Romney campaign has accused the administration of misleading the public by claiming the anti-Muslim video was to blame for the attack in Benghazi, rather than admitting it was a failure to detect and prevent an act of terrorism on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. We cannot say if there was a deliberate attempt to mislead the public or whether, as the administration says, the conflicting statements in the weeks after the attack were the result of an evolving investigation. We’ll leave that for readers to decide.

Update, Oct. 17: We revised our article to include a third instance in which the president used the phrase “act of terror” and another time in which he said that “extremists and terrorists” used the anti-Muslim video “as an excuse” to attack the U.S. consulate in Libya. We thank the readers who brought these incidents to our attention. We also added the date of the president’s interview on “The View.”

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, Not trying to game the refs, but the fact check (and Politifact did this too) seems to buy into the idea that “terrorist attack” and “response to video” are somehow mutually exclusive.

Ansar al-Shariah, the people who (probably) carried out the terrorist attack, have said explicitly that it was in response to the video. And while it was obviously “planned,” intelligence officials think it only took a few hours worth of planning. Source

tedd's avatar

I hardly consider pointing out the truth to be biased. If we’ve reached that point then I think we have a problem.

As far as the clock, no moderator in history has cut the candidates off at 2 minutes. There would be pandemonium if one did. She did a pretty good job keeping the candidates on track in my book. Miles beyond Lehrer, I would say behind her VP debate counterpart though. That woman was a task master.

rojo's avatar

I do not fully understand this “shoot first and ask questions later” attitude being expressed by the right.
@bkcunningham pointed out that – “Yet, when asked on ABC’s “The View” whether it was a terrorist attack, Obama refused to say. That was on Sept. 24. He said, ‘We’re still doing an investigation. There’s no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action. We don’t have all the information yet, so we’re still gathering it.’”.
Why would you demonize someone for saying that they wanted the facts before making a call?

bkcunningham's avatar

@rojo, I don’t see anyone “demonizing” anyone.

rojo's avatar

@bkcunningham Not directed at you individually.
This is just one of the supposed sins that is being repeated, over and over, in an effort to show Obama in a very negative light. After about a dozen repetitions I feel it becomes demonizing. You may have a different term that you would use. This one, however, is the one I choose.

tedd's avatar

@bkcunningham You must not see Mittens Romney and his Muppet of a VP candidate too much then.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, Fox has been running this Libya bullshit since mid-September. “What did they know? Why is their story changing? Why won’t they call it a terrorist attack?”

I find it hard to believe that a conservative like yourself is unfamiliar with what the GOP media machine has been doing.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu and others who are arguing with me about my post, the “bullshit” I posted is word for word from Politifact. Do you have a problem with Politifact?

rojo's avatar

@bkcunningham Still, why do you have a problem with someone wanting to have the facts before making a statement?

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham in this case I do. Its conclusion to the fact check is absurd.

But on the point of “did Obama say it,” Politifact agrees with me. You must not have actually read what you posted:

“In the days since, some have parsed Obama’s remarks and argued he didn’t say the Benghazi attack was specifically an act of terror. However, given the overall context of his comments, it seems a fair conclusion that he was including the attack in the “acts of terror” that he said would never shake American resolve.”

wundayatta's avatar

Politifact seems to be biased. They are biased to try to be unbiased. Thus, when a fact is highly controversial, they try to split the difference. Rachel Maddow gave several examples of this in a show she did about it recently.

Fact checking—wow! How many years did it last? One? Two? Before it became just as biased as the politicians? It’s all part of politics, which is inherently about spin. Facts are never facts. You can always spin them or interpret them or put them in context so they mean the opposite of what someone else thinks they mean.

It’s fine. I think it is healthy to have these arguments. But I think we need to acknowledge that bias is an important part of determining facts, and that given that, our efforts to nail down “facts” may be something other than what we purport to be doing.

Qingu's avatar

@wundayatta, I don’t think Politifact is biased, just that they’re inconsistent in how they evaluate and rate stuff (probably because different people rate different claims). Their write-ups are invaluable, though.

It reminds me of video game and movie reviews. People look at the number scores or stars and freak out, but what’s important is the actual text of the review, the points the reviewer makes. So you can look at this “Half-true” rating and read the write-up, which says (1) Obama did in fact call it a terrorist attack for several days immediately after it happened, and (2) the only reasoning behind Romney’s point is the idea that “terrorist attack” and “response to video” are somehow mutually exclusive.

I honestly have no idea how PF arrived at the rating they did in light of this, but at least their write-up lays the facts on the table.

wundayatta's avatar

I think that the write-up may explain it…. but not really. That kind of summary is disingenuous, I think, and Maddow’s argument that they are trying to split the difference rings true in this case. They should either separate it into two separate instances or do something else, because I don’t think it’s fair to say Obama was being half true on this.

Qingu's avatar

It was Romney being “half true,” not Obama. And I agree with you, I think the rating is absolutely stupid and should be “false” or “pants on fire.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

…Still waiting for @bkcunningham to answer @rojo

bkcunningham's avatar

If President Obama had actually waited until he had to facts and not flip-flopped on such a major event, the entire issue wouldn’t have been fodder for Romney. Both Obama and Romney are campaigning. Romney took advantage of this and tried to make it an opportunity to score points.

The interesting thing to me is the Politico discussion. When it favors Obama, @Qingu is a staunch supporter of the site. When it doesn’t, he finds fault ahed calls it stupid and inconsistent.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You still haven’t answered @rojo‘s question: ” ...why do you have a problem with someone wanting to have the facts before making a statement?”

Obama HAD to make a statement of some kind right after the attack. Had to. So he did. He made a commitment to find whoever was responsible for it, and get them. That’s all. That’s all he really COULD say.

He stayed quiet for the next couple of weeks after that because he didn’t have the specific details. That seems a wise course of action to me.

What do you think Romney would have done differently?

And exactly where do you see Obama “flip flopping”?


bkcunningham's avatar

He didn’t stay quiet, @Dutchess_III. See my quote from Politifact above that details Obama’s statements and campaign appearances where he spoke about the killings.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham what flip-flop?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Waiting for the answer on that one, too, @Qingu. What flip flop?

I don’t mean he stayed mute @bkcunningham. I mean he wasn’t going to commit to a cause until he had all the facts in. You still haven’t answered @rojo‘s question of why you would have a problem with that.

What do you think Romney would have done differently?

rojo's avatar

@Dutchess_III I think we already know what Romney would do. Shoot his mouth off and issue threats. I found this quote from a McCain campaign strategist:
“The comments were a big mistake, and the decision to double down on them was an even bigger mistake,” Steve Schmidt, senior campaign strategist to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, told CBS News. “There are legitimate criticisms to be made but you foreclose on your ability to make them when you try to score easy political points. And the American people, when the country is attacked, whether they’re a Republican or Democrat or independent, want to see leaders who have measured responses, not leaders whose first instinct is to try to score political points.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

And the ironic thing is, it’s starting to look more and more like it WAS nothing more than a mob violence reaction to the video! So, any way you slice it, Romney was left with egg on his face AGAIN.

Qingu's avatar

Hm. I wouldn’t call it mob violence; “mob” implies out-of-control whereas Ansar-al-Shariah seemed to clearly have their shit together. But the current intelligence assessment is that it was really a reaction to the video.

Doesn’t mean they’re not terrorists, doesn’t mean I don’t want to see them “brought to justice.”

And it doesn’t mean that the state department or Obama are off the hook for not taking more precautions around 9/11—but I think that’s a trivial criticism to make. If you read the blow-by-blow of the battle it’s not clear what additional precautions would have even made a difference; plus the security requests were mostly for Tripoli, not Benghazi.

rojo's avatar

This is a few days old but appears to be an on-site report on Benghazi that goes along with what @Dutchess_III says about it being mob violence.

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