The media November 2014
The uses of outrage
Outrage is the media’s new tool.
In our last installment, President Obama had injudiciously followed up his expression of moral indignation against the Islamic killers of the American journalist James Foley and sympathy for his family with a quick game of golf on Martha’s Vineyard. The contrast between the gruesome photos of poor Mr. Foley’s beheading—by an anonymous Briton subsequently dubbed “Jihadi John” by the British media—and one of the President behind the wheel of his golf cart, caught in the midst of a full-throated laugh, caused even the hitherto subservient media to grumble a bit. The power of these images may also have added impetus to the media’s complaints when, shortly afterwards, a second American, Steven Sotloff, was likewise beheaded, and the President’s reaction again seemed a trifle disproportionate to some, and lacking in the sort of ringing phrases he so often comes up with on matters, like the minimum wage or...
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