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March 20, 2012 / Joshua

Blazing Sensationalism

Earlier today, I followed a link via Twitter to Glenn Beck’s news and opinion site, The Blaze. There I found “news” of Rick Santorum weighing in on the “OMG! Why is Malia Obama going to Mexico?!?” controversy. Hey, I didn’t know she was taking a trip to Mexico for spring break. That’s cool. I hope she has a good time.

But if there’s one consistent trait among right wing critics of President Obama, it’s that they always find a problem with his family going on vacation. So here comes Santorum, in response to a question from Glenn Beck, suggesting the president has failed in his apparently all-important role of setting an example:

“What I would say is that the president’s actions should reflect what his administration is saying,” Santorum told Beck. “If the administration is saying that it’s not safe to have people down there, then just because you can send 25 Secret Service agents doesn’t mean you should do it. You should set an example. I think that‘s what president’s do. They set an example. And when the government is saying this is not safe, then you don’t set the example by sending your kids down there.”

Santorum was referring to the State Department’s travel warning “to inform U.S. citizens about the security situation in Mexico”. The same travel warning which fails to say “Americans shouldn’t go” there, as Beck suggests, but assures us that “Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day.”

I guess it didn’t occur to Santorum, and more importantly Glenn Beck who set up the question, that Mexico is a pretty big place with many states, and possibly, just maybe, some of those states don’t have a travel warning. And maybe Malia Obama went to such a state. It seems clear neither Santorum nor Beck bothered to actually read the State Department’s travel warning.

For their part, it appears that The Blaze staff did read the warning but reported on it like this:

Luckily, no specific warning was issued for the exact area (Oaxaca) Malia is said to be visiting. However, there have been concerns about that area in the past.

Whew! Lucky break there Obamas. Aren’t you glad Glenn Beck’s team is there to cast doubt and judgment on your parenting decisions and nosily feign concern for your daughter’s safety?

No. Just no. There’s not just “no specific warning”. The State Department unequivocally says “no warning is in effect” for Oaxaca. Period. But you can see above how The Blaze purposefully portrayed this to leave a suspicious air of doubt and concern. There is not an issue with this trip. But oh, Beck’s people want it to be an issue so badly. What a waste web space all of this is.


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