February 6, 2013 1 Comment
After President Barack Hussein Obama told The New Republic that “up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” everyone across the political spectrum did a double-take. Even the normally incurious Washington press corps pressed White House spokesman Jay Carney for details. When Carney had none (“I’m not sure how often he’s done that. … “There may be (a photo), but I haven’t seen it.”), even CNN was openly skeptical.
Media skepticism deepened into something appropriate to the level of suspicion usually triggered by stonewalling about a cover-up involving
gun-running to insurgents in Syria via Turkey Iran-Contra, say, FOX News interviewed a source who had been at the presidential retreat with Obama on six occasions:
“The only time he shot skeet was for President’s Cup,” said the source, referring to a shooting competition tradition involving the presidential Marine guards. “I was there. He stayed for about five minutes, and couldn’t leave fast enough.”
Skeet shooting “is very hard,” said the source. “Especially for someone not used to guns … He couldn’t have been more uncomfortable.”
And then, the unthinkable: Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler felt the need to look into “the White House’s curious silence about Obama’s claim of skeet shooting” and found that during the 2008 campaign, Obama never mentioned shooting any type of firearm, and that was a no-show at a campaign event featuring skeet-shooting. Further, the president made no reference to skeet-shooting at Camp David when he hosted Olympic skeet-shooting champions Kim Rhode and Army Sgt. Vincent Hancock But at the White House in September – though one article quotes a member of the Texas Christian University‘s national championship rifle team saying that Obama claimed to practice shooting a rifle with the Secret Service when they were greeted by him at the White House. Finally, there were no press reports of skeet-shooting being a recreational activity that Obama engaged in at Camp David.
Kessler’s verdict: “The evidence suggests that until Obama had access to a shooting range as president, he never went skeet shooting. He certainly did not speak like a politician who had once used a firearm.” In response, the White House released this photo purporting to show Obama skeet-shooting:
The WaPo reports that the photo was disseminated because “White House aides were trying to end a growing distraction just as the president plans to make a fresh push to rally public support behind his ambitious agenda to tighten gun laws,” and adds these details about the provenance of the image:
On his 51st birthday last August, President Obama hit the links with a group of buddies and then flew by helicopter to Camp David. There, he changed into jeans and picked up a shotgun. And then, before it got too dark, he started a round of clay target shooting.
The photo, taken by White House photographer Pete Souza, depicts a sunglasses-wearing Obama firing what appears to be a Browning Citori 725, the shotgun wedged against his left shoulder, a pillow of white smoke emerging from the barrel. …
The “over and under” design [of the shotgun] features two barrels, one on top of the other, allowing the gun to hold and fire two shotgun shells.
The smoke in the photo is emanating from air vents in the barrel, a feature known as “porting” that reduces recoil shock and allows for steadier aim. …
According to the Browning Web site, some of the Citori models are made in a left-handed version, with a slight bend near the butt – though it was not apparent from the photo whether the left-handed president was using one of those.
As the WaPo predicted, “the release of the photo seemed more likely to inflame passions around the issue than douse them.” For one thing, in the photo Obama is pointing the gun straight ahead, as though aiming at a stationary target, rather than towards the sky where the skeet would be sailing overhead. Adding more fuel to the social media firestorm, when the White House released the photo, it included the standard admonition that it is not to be used for commercial or political purposes and “may not be manipulated in any way.” All fine and proper, and normal procedure. But then Obama adviser David Plouffe tweeted an invitation – some say a dare – to manipulate the image using Photoshop.
The Blaze includes a selection of doctored photos, including two depicting Obama shooting the U.S. flag and Constitution. A Facebook page was also created to collect Photoshopped images of Obama’s skeet-shooting prowess that put him next to former presidential candidate Mike Dukakis in a tank, outside Usama bin Laden’s compound alongside members of Seal Team Six who killed the terrorist and riding along with the Beverly Hillbillies in their jalopy. The page includes a greenscreen shot that masks the background in the White House photo so other people can make their own visual puns. For its part, Before It’s News published a photo of Obama shooting White House Press Secretary Jay Carney for not diffusing the “distraction” before it got out of hand.
But as funny as these images of Obama are – in an LOL sort of way – the media’s ignorance about guns is equally funny – in a farcical sort of way, considering that the most powerful news organizations in the nation are simultaneously inveighing against “assault weapons” and pushing draconian NYC-style gun control laws from coast to coast. Both liberal news outlets (The New York Times and Gawker, among them) and conservative ones (notably, New York Post and FOX News) referred to the gun Obama was holding as a “rifle,” and The Associated Press described the protective gear the president wore as “headphones” and “sunglasses.” Journalists’ command of firearms is as questionable as Obama’s.
As The Stiletto noted on Facebook, it’s galling that people who don’t know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun presume to weigh in on gun control without having the expertise to differentiate between military assault rifles and civilian sport rifles cosmetically altered with various accessories that make them look like a military weapon without affecting function or caliber. This is analogous to a journalist who covers automobile racing looking under the hood and mistaking the performance-enhancing tweaks to the cylinder heads, camshafts and valve train of the street legal production version of the 2013 Chevy SS with the highly modified small block V-8 engine that powers its NASCAR counterpart.
- Hero Builders Creates Obama Skeet Shooting Action Figure (breitbart.com)
- “Obama skeet shooting action figure” now for sale (redalertpolitics.com)
- President Obama’s skeet shooting photo: A staged political lie? (capitolhillblue.com)
- Skeet-shooting Obama action figure goes on sale (thegrio.com)
- The Great Half-White Skeet Hunter (youviewed.com)
- WH Spokesman Can’t Produce Any Evidence that Obama has Ever Been Skeet Shooting (pjmedia.com)