The Obama Skeet-Shooting Controversy Is Stupid, Which May Be The Point

by evanmcmurry

Here’s the skeet-shooting controversy so far: Obama claimed to shoot skeet in a TNR interview to show gun nuts he wasn’t scared of things that go bang, gun nuts demanded proof, the White House released a photo of Obama skeet-shooting, thus prompting a million cries of “fake!”

The whole thing was so predictable—Obama must have known that claiming to shoot skeet would placate not a single NRA member, and that a photo in the age of birthers and Newtown truthers would create more doubt than it would quell—that something else must be at play here.

Here’s Greg Sargeant’s take on it:

This controversy is only the latest sign that the right remains very, very good at getting news orgs to follow shiny bouncy balls. To be clear, I don’t see any problem with fact checking the president’s statement, as many others have. That’s what the fact checkers should be doing. Rather, the problem here is one of overkill and misdirection. Much of the reporting on the back and forth over this controversy doesn’t clarify what is perhaps the most important fact about it: The question of whether Obama did or didn’t engage in skeet shooting is utterly, totally, completely irrelevant to any of the actual policy proposals that are being discussed right now.

Except, once again, Obama and his team must have known all this before he went into the TNR interview. And while the right may be good at getting news orgs to follow bouncy balls, the right is also helpless against the biggest, bounciest ball of all: their own conception of Obama as a Muslim Kenyan Socialist tyrant. You have to wonder of this controversy was the intention of Obama’s team: keep the nuts yelling on the interwebs about photoshopped skeet shooting pictures while Obama—or, more likely, Biden—worked with Congress to craft gun legislation. Better to have guns nuts yelling about nonsense than bills up for debate, no?

Sargeant is right, the controversy is irrelevant. That may be the point.

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