The elites who serve as entertainment awards judges should dust off the Emmy stripped from disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and send it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for Joe Biden’s nationally televised response to the attacks that left 13 dead. Despite slurred elocution and his usual bumbling delivery, Biden rose to the moment in a made-for-TV special. The hungry media took the bait and feasted upon a carefully crafted sound bite without a moment’s hesitation.
Feeding the Hungry Monster
In an attention-deficit world, where more news carries less meaning than ever, what plays are short, pithy sayings called sound bites. These short clips taken from a longer speech are supposed to characterize the essence of a person’s message. Often used as teasers to entice viewers or readers to click, watch, or listen, these sound bites are the media’s best friend, which is why they are employed ad nauseum. Unfortunately, these few words can be used to send messages in direct contradiction to reality.
So, when Mr. Biden slowly ambled up to the lectern for a nationally televised speech on what not-so-arguably was the worst day of his presidency, he knew he had to deliver a command performance. Because the president’s optics were so ghastly – appearing pasty and worn out – he needed some words to reclaim his power following the day’s tragic events. The White House communications office complied by serving up a juicy bite intended to send the message that Mr. Biden is a strong leader in control and command:
“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay. I will defend our interest in our people with every measure at my command.”
This sound bite was deliberately designed to remove the stain of weakness after terrorists (ISIS-K, Taliban – it doesn’t matter) killed 13 U.S. military personnel. It was actually a little long for the perfect sound bite, so perhaps instinctively, the president went off script and stole a historic phrase from a Republican president:
“We will respond with force and precision in our time, at a place we choose, in a manner of our choosing.”
Now, where have we heard that before? How about 20 years ago, following the 9-11 terrorist attack? Anyone over the age of 30 would instantly recognize this refrain from George W. Bush, who spat these words into a megaphone while standing on the rubble of the World Trade Centers.
Mr. Biden is particularly adept at appropriating other politicians’ speech – as he did with British MP Neil Kinnock – so his derivative mind immediately surfed to that unforgettable George W. moment. After such a “tough day” and waste of human life, Biden wanted – no – needed to channel some of Dubya’s righteous indignation. It fed into our national anger then, so why not give it another go?
Mr. Biden’s power sound bites, however, are in direct contradiction to his actions in Afghanistan. Even his leftist media cohorts have been shaken by a poorly executed – now deadly – withdrawal from the failed state. Notwithstanding Saturday’s drone strike at an ISIS-K target, his pledges about retribution and revenge may ultimately prove hollow. But for now, these power sound bites are sufficient to placate those who would label Biden feckless and hopelessly lost in the role of commander-in-chief.
That might not stop the Biden administration from trying to stage a future charade, in which it bombs the hell out of some square mile of rubble in the Afghan mountains and calls it a victory, as in, “We got ’em!” as Liberty Nation’s Graham J Noble speculated recently. Just hours after that prediction, an “ISIS-K planner” was reportedly killed in a U.S. drone strike near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan. Though one source described the targeted terrorist as having been involved in the “future planning” of attacks, he has not been directly linked to the Kabul airport bombings.
“Talk is cheap” rather than “Actions speak louder than words” is the operative platitude in a world of shallow media sound bites calculated to convince the masses to believe a lie. Americans are right to question the president’s words when they shed no light on why and how our national treasure came to be slaughtered by suicide bombs on foreign soil. They are right to pay attention to what they can see and hear in real-time rather than listen to deftly packaged talking points. These sound bites should be taken for what they are; just “sound and fury” – as Shakespeare so eloquently wrote – “signifying nothing.”
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.