Completing eight years of Obama: On Wednesday night, we caught this tease by Megyn Kelly:
KELLY (11/16/16): Still ahead, President Obama delivering his toughest remarks yet on President-Elect Trump. Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen has all the fall-out.Good lord! There he went again! We decided to stick around to see what Obama had said. And to examine "all the fall-out!"
Kelly teased these "toughest remarks" throughout her hour-long program. Eventually, we got her hard-hitting report.
The segment started with tape of Obama on his 2009 "apology tour." After she'd primed the pump that way, this is all she actually had:
KELLY: You remember that. To me, he looks so much younger there. That was President Obama in 2009 in one of his first trip overseas, an event that critics would label part of the "apology tour" since he shared sometimes harsh language of, about America's treatment of our allies.After an hour of teasing Obama's "toughest remarks," those two remarks were all she had. They were separated by a flash edit. Plainly, we were supposed to think Obama was trashing Trump in that second remark.
Today, on his last trip overseas as president, he delivered new criticism, this time against President-Elect Trump.
Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen joins us with the details. James?
ROSEN: Megyn, good evening. Until today President Obama had spent a post-election period urging divided America to give Donald Trump and his team a chance. But after he toured the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, birthplace of democracy, the outgoing president delivered his toughest remarks yet about the president-elect and the meaning of his victory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: As you may have noticed, the next American president and I could not be more different.
OBAMA: Faced with this new reality where cultures clash, it is inevitable that some will seek a comfort in nationalism or tribe or ethnicity or sect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEN: With the Democratic Party he has led for the last eight years now having lost the White House, remaining in the minority in both houses of Congress and suffering deeper losses at the state level, Mr. Obama finds himself about to yield to a successor, who campaign on dismantling the Obama legacy. This has created a tension in his final days between official duty and personal interest as president.
Mr. Obama expresses continuity to reassure allies. As a political figure he seeks to avoid blame for his party's defeat and project confidence that his legacy will endure.
Let's place those remarks in context. In his speech, Obama was discussing the need to maintain democratic institutions and procedures. The two remarks were widely separated in the actual speech:
OBAMA (11/16/16): We compete hard in campaigns in America and here in Greece. But after the election, democracy depends on a peaceful transition of power, especially when you don't get the result you want.Was Obama making "his toughest remarks yet" about Trump? In the first excerpt Kelly offered, Obama said he differed from Trump—but only to say that democracy was bigger than such differences. He stressed the way he and Trump were going to work together.
And as you may have noticed, the next American president and I could not be more different. We have very different points of view. But American democracy is bigger than any one person. That's why we have a tradition of the outgoing president welcoming the new one in, as I did last week. And why, in the coming weeks, my administration will do everything we can to support the smoothest transition possible, because that's how democracy has to work.
[Long gap in speech]
Democracy is simplest where everybody thinks alike, looks alike, eats the same food, worships the same God. Democracy becomes more difficult when there are people coming from a variety of backgrounds and trying to live together. In our globalized world, with the migration of people and the rapid movement of ideas and cultures and traditions, we see increasingly this blend of forces mixing together in ways that often enrich our societies but also cause tensions.
In the Information Age, the unprecedented exchange of information can always accentuate differences, or seem to threaten cherished ways of life. It used to be that you might not know how people in another part of your country, or in the cities versus the countryside, were living. Now everybody knows how everybody is living, and everybody can feel threatened sometimes if people don't do things exactly the way they do things. And they start asking themselves questions about their own identity. And it can create a volatile politics.
Faced with this new reality where cultures clash, it's inevitable that some will seek a comfort in nationalism or tribe or ethnicity or sect. In countries that are held together by borders that were drawn by colonial powers, including many countries in the Middle East and in Africa, it can be tempting to fall back on perceived safety of enclaves and tribal divisions.
In the second excerpt Kelly presented, Obama wasn't discussing Trump at all. Kelly's suggestion to the contrary was an hour-long con.
Kelly and Rosen deceived Fox viewers that night. For the record, Rachel Maddow likes conning us gullibles too. As with Fox viewers, so too with us; as true believers, we don't see it. But no one does a slippery edit quite the way Maddow does!
Increasingly, Kelly is a mainstream media darling. We liberals kick down at the people she misleads, sit around twiddling our thumbs as the mainstream kisses her aspic about her daring new book. $20 million or bust!
Regular people get fooled on cable by multimillionaires every night. We liberals love to trash the regular people who get misled on Fox.
Should we look for ways to tell these people that they're getting misled by the big stars they think they can trust? When professors make such suggestions, we think they're weird crazy dumb.
Regarding those who get misled on Fox, they're racists and bigots, we like to cry. It's a prominent part of our dumb, ugly culture. It comes from our weak tribal minds.
People have always loathed The Others. Little about Us is better.