At a press conference in Malaysia on Sunday, President Obama accused the media of playing into ISIS’ playbook by fostering a climate of fear.
A reporter asked the president, in light of a new Washington Post/ABC News poll that found 83 percent of Americans believe a terrorist attack involving mass casualties is likely, with 40 saying very likely, are the terrorists winning and should people be afraid? (See video above starting at 37:50.)
Calling ISIS “a bunch of killers with good social media,” the president urged Americans to not be afraid. “But in addition to hunting down terrorists, in addition to effective intelligence, and in addition to missile strikes, and in addition to cutting off financing and all the other things that we’re doing, the most powerful tool we have to fight ISIL is to say that we’re not afraid; to not elevate them; to somehow buy into their fantasy that they’re doing something important,” Obama said.
“And the media needs to help in this. I just want to say — during the course of this week, a very difficult week, it is understandable that this has been a primary focus,” he added. “But one of the things that has to happen is how we report on this has to maintain perspective, and not empower in any way these terrorist organizations or elevate them in ways that make it easier for them to recruit or make them stronger.”
“Our way of life is stronger. We have more to offer — we represent 99.9 percent of humanity. And that’s why we should be confident that we’ll win,” the president stated.
Obama also addressed the Syrian refugee issue saying that he understands why Americans are “concerned” about the possibility of terrorists infiltrating into the United States with the refugees.
“My hope though is, now that we have some time to catch our breath and take a look at this carefully, that people understand that refugees who end up in the United States are the most vetted, scrutinized, thoroughly investigated individuals that ever arrived on American shores,” he said.
As reported by Western Journalism, New York Rep. Peter King (R), who is a member of the Homeland Security Committee and chairman of its Sub-committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, stated, “We cannot vet the refugees from Syria. There are no databases to work against, no government records,” he said. “People talk about ‘thorough vetting.’ There is no vetting as a practical matter.”
The Washington Post/ABC News poll found that, in addition to Americans being concerned about a potential terrorist attack, they have not rallied to the flag in support of the president. “[T]he public’s ratings of Obama on dealing with terrorism have fallen to a record-low 40 percent, with a smaller 35 percent approving of his handling of the Islamic State. Obama’s ratings on terrorism have fallen seven points since January, driven largely…