The naysayers will never believe it…as usual.
I reported yesterday on the media, including the Washington Post fact-checker, who was particularly enthralled with this issue, up in arms over President Obama’s contention that there is skeet shooting “all the time” up at Camp David.
The media demanded a photo – let’s call it, “long form” evidence – lest the most important man in the world be lying about shooting small clay disks.
So the White House released one, see below. And what do you know? The President is shooting skeet.
As an aside, the Washington Post’s fact-checker was particularly nasty, going so far as to publish photos of the President and Vice President holding squirt guns, in a clear effort to mock and embarrass them. Hardly an appropriate move for an independent fact-checker.
So first, here’s the White House photo from this past August:
Now let’s revisit some of the Trump-esque media hyperventilation on this topic over the past few days.
First, there are now Skeet-Truthers:
2/2/13: john r stanton @dcbigjohn: Something Fishy About #Skeetgate Photo. The Angle Of The Barrel Is All Wrong For Skeet Flying Through The Air. pic.twitter.com/gqLMZPtC
2/2/13: Emily Miller @EmilyMiller: This Obama Skeet Shooting Photo Looks Odd To Me Because The Clays Come High Or Low, Not Straight. http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/whitehouse/8436110735/sizes/m/ …
More from the traditional media:
1/27/13: Glenn Thrush @GlennThrush: Obama Says He Shots Skeet All The Time At Camp David. A) How Many Times Has He Gone To CD? B) Ever Been Mention Of Skeet In Pool Report?
1/28/13: Jessica Yellin, CNN: On a different topic, how often does the President go skeet shooting? (Laughter.) And are there photographs of him doing so?
MR. CARNEY: I would refer you simply to his comments. I don’t know how often. He does go to Camp David with some regularity, but I’m not sure how often he’s done that.
Q Is there a photograph of him doing it?
MR. CARNEY: There may be, but I haven’t seen it.
Q Why haven’t we heard about it before?
MR. CARNEY: Because when he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs.” [White House – Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 1/28/2013]
1/28/13: Erin Burnett, CNN:…Now our fifth story OUTFRONT: Obama the skeet shooter. Yes, I’m not making this up. If someone is, it isn’t me. In an interview with ‘The New Republic’, the president revealed he can relate to people who enjoy firing guns. When asked if he has ever fired one, he replied, quote, ‘Yes, in fact, up at camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.’ The reporter followed up, ‘The whole family?’ To which the president replied, ‘Not the girls, but oftentimes guest of mine go up there, and I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake.’…He says — he tell us he’s heard of bowling, golfing, hiking, archery, swimming but not skeet shooting. So, you’re going to say you do it all the time, don’t you kind of have to prove it?” [CNN, 1/28/13]
Drudge got a real hoot out of Burnett’s conspiratorial take on the issue:
Oh, and apparently there are NO photos to prove it:
1/28/13: Kate Bolduan, CNN: “Still ahead, there aren’t any photos to prove it, but President Obama says he likes to go skeet shooting. Who knew? We’ll talk to the man who got that surprising bit of information out of the president….President Obama’s revelation that he liked to go skeet shooting at Camp David has raised questions and definitely raised some eyebrows.” [CNN, 1/28/13]
1/28/13: Donavan Slack, Politico: “President Barack Obama said recently that he goes skeet shooting ‘all the time’ at Camp David, but don’t expect any photos. ‘When he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends to relax, not to produce photographs,’ White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday. He said he had never seen any pictures of Obama skeet shooting. The president, asked by The New Republic if he had ever fired a gun, replied: ‘In fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.’
Carney said he didn’t know exactly how often that was. ‘He does go to Camp David with some regularity, but I’m not sure how often he’s done that.’ According to CBS News’ Mark Knoller, who keeps statistics on the president’s movements, Obama has visited Camp David 29 times, spending a total of 72 days there since taking office.” [POLITICO – 44, 1/28/13]
Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post has concluded that the President has “never” gone skeet shooting:
1/31/13: Glenn Kessler, Washington Post: “A number of readers have raised questions about the president’s statement that he goes skeet shooting ‘all the time’ while at Camp David. In these suspicious times, they would like to see some evidence. But the White House has been oddly silent about the matter….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. But it is also curious that the White House refuses to provide any documentary evidence that he actually used the shooting range at Camp David, since he claims he uses it ‘all the time,’ or that a presidential friend has not come forward to confirm the president’s comments. We live in suspicious times and the president lives in a media fishbowl. That’s the way it is. In the meantime, we do not have enough information to make a ruling one way or the other. We are eager to see a photograph, or hear from someone who saw him at the skeet range, to put this matter to rest.” [The Washington Post, 1/31/13]
Per Kessler’s claim that it’s “curious” the White House was reticent to release photos, Jon Stewart said the other day, and I paraphrase, yes, it’s curious that when half the country has the racially-tinged belief that President Obama is a radical Marxist out to violently overthrow our democracy, that they wouldn’t release a photo of the black man holding a weapon.
New York Magazine even found a semantic reason to prove that the President has never shot skeet – you see, Obama used the wrong “verb”:
1/28/13: Dan Amira, New York Magazine: “In an interview with the New Republic over the weekend, President Obama made a surprising admission. When asked if he’s ever fired a gun before, Obama told the magazine, ‘Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.’ Asked if his family takes part, Obama responded, ‘Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there.’ It was an unexpected revelation from a man not exactly known for being an outdoorsy, gun-toting type. So unexpected, in fact, that many people aren’t buying it. And we’re one of them. Call us the Skeeters. There are four main reasons we don’t believe that Obama shoots skeet ‘all the time’ at Camp David. For one thing, he referred to it as ‘do skeet shooting,’ which is how people usually talk about things with which they are not very familiar. Your grandma asks you if you ‘do Twitter.’ Second, and more significant, there has been zero prior documentation of Obama shooting skeet.” [New York Magazine, 1/28/13]
I’ve shot skeet. I have no idea what the correct long-form verb is. I’m sure that will be New York Magazine’s next cover story.
Oh, and Fox is skeptical too – now there’s a surprise.
1/30/13: Wendell Goler, Fox News: Marsha Blackburn has challenged the President’s comments about skeet shooting at Camp David. She’s skeptical of them and she says she’s a better skeet shooter than he is and wants to be invited to Camp David for a contest. Your reaction?
MR. CARNEY: I have none. (Laughter.)” [White House – Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 1/30/13]
1/30/13: Sean Hannity, Fox News: You wouldn’t know it by looking at President Obama’s radical anti-gun record, but it turns out our commander in chief is claiming to be the sport man. Now in a recent interview with the ‘New Republic’ magazine, he was asked whether or not he has ever fired a gun. His response, quote, ‘Yes, in fact, at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.’ Really all the time? That’s funny because while we’ve seen countless images of the president and his buddies and his friends playing gold, shooting hoops, well, we’ve never seen him shooting a firearm. Now, I’m not the only one that finds that unusual. Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn is also expressing skepticism about the anointed one’s new founded enthusiasm when it comes to skeet shooting. In fact, she has issued a challenge that has earlier today captured the attention of the White House. First here is congresswoman.” [Fox News Network, 1/30/13]
1/31/13: Bret Baier, Fox News: “BAIER:…Few people are buying President Obama’s claim that he is a big fan of skeet shooting. The president was asked by ‘the New Republic,’ quote, ‘Have you ever fired a gun?’ President Obama answered, quote, ‘Yes. In fact, up at camp David we do skeet shooting all the time.’ ‘New York’ magazine called out the president’s phrasing, saying, quote, ‘that quote is how people usually talk about things with which they are not very familiar. Your grandma asks if you do Twitter.’ The ‘Washington Post’ looked at the president’s past statements and down no mention of skeet shooting. It labels ‘curious’ that the White House is refusing to provide evidence that the president has ever used the shooting range.” [Fox News Network, 1/31/13]
Mini-Fox, the Wall Street Journal, weighs in too.
1/30/13: Kimberly Strassel, Wall Street Journal: “The president’s comments set off a flurry of reporting and commentary, all questioning the truth of the president’s supposed love affair with skeet shooting. In all his time as president, Mr. Obama had never professed any interest in skeet shooting, and in fact was once caught on tape moaning that too many Americans ‘cling’ to their ‘guns and religion.’ As it happens, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney almost instantly had to dial back the president’s comments. ‘He does go to Camp David with some regularity, but I’m not sure how often he’s done that,’ admitted Mr. Carney. He further admitted that he’d never seen any photos of Mr. Obama shooting, and suggested none would be forthcoming: ‘When he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends to relax, not to produce photographs.’ Conservative Web sites have had a field day, with Breitbart posting a photo of Mr. Obama standing outside a pool with a water gun…. Whatever the truth of Mr. Obama’s skeet shooting interest, don’t expect the audience his comments were actually aimed at—gun owners—to be remotely reassured.” [The Wall Street Journal, 1/30/13]
And now that the photos have been released, it’s of course not enough. Here’s a classic from the Politico, proving why inside-the-beltway it’s actually called the Republico. You see, it doesn’t matter that the White House has released the long-demanded photo. Now Politico wants even more photos:
§ 2/2/13: Donavan Slack, Politico: “The White House, succumbing to skeptics, releases a photo Saturday of President Barack Obama skeet shooting. The president told The New Republic in a recent interview that he goes skeet shooting ‘all the time.’ Doubters of the claim quickly asked for photos, a request the White House denied earlier this week. The image released Saturday proves he did in fact shoot skeet. Official photographer Pete Souza snapped this shot at Camp David on Aug. 4, 2012. But it may do little to squelch the questions about exactly how often.” [POLITICO – 44, 2/2/13]
And not wanting to be left out of the conspiracy brigade, the normally-rational NYT joins the fray:
2/2/13: Peter Baker, New York Times: “When President Obama mentioned last week that he had picked up a new hobby — skeet shooting at Camp David — it was a surprising disclosure by a president whose main identification with guns these days is his effort to ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. To some, Mr. Obama’s newfound enthusiasm for shooting clay pigeons — he said in an interview that he did it ‘all the time’ at his retreat in the Maryland mountains — also seemed a bit suspicious. So on Saturday, the White House tried to silence the skeptics by releasing a photo of Mr. Obama shooting on the range at Camp David in August. In the photo, the president, wearing goggles and ear-muffs, is squinting down the barrel of a rifle, moments after pulling the trigger. Gun smoke shoots out of the front of the rifle. The White House said the photo was taken on Aug. 4, which was Mr. Obama’s 51st birthday. But it offered no further details on whether his target practice was a regular hobby or a one-time event. The notion of the president taking aim at targets flung into the air captivated some in the political and social media worlds at a time when he is pushing Congress to enact sweeping restrictions on high-capacity rifles and magazines.” [The New York Times, 2/2/13]
And why stop there? Now that there’s a photo, let’s demand NUMEROUS photos. After all, the President did suggest that they shoot skeet more than once at Camp David (though in all fairness, the “we” sounded to me like he meant he shoots skeet, and so do lots of other people, many of the guests in fact, even if he’s not always there, but why strive for nuance when a good conspiracy is aloft).
And even if the President is shooting skeet, how do we know the photo wasn’t faked – making this the Capricorn One of skeet? Maybe the President simply stripped off his winter clothes and shot this yesterday in DC’s below-freezing weather.
UPDATE: Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler examined this super-sized version of the supposed skeet-shooting photo the White House just released, and Kessler has determined that it is a fake, it was in fact only shot yesterday.
From the Washington Post’s Fact Checker:
With the help of National Security Agency satellite imaging experts, we examined the photo released by the White House allegedly showing the President shooting skeet last August. We have determined that it is in fact a forgery, likely shot only yesterday in Washington, DC’s sub-freezing temperatures. Not only is steam seen curiously being emitted from the rifle barrel, something more typical of weapons fire on a brisk winter’s day than August 4th’s balmy 96 degrees, but on closer microscopic examination we found unusual folds in the chest-fabric of the shirt suggesting that the presidential nips were particularly perky that day.
(In case folks didn’t get it, this last park is poking fun at the media’s obsession with absurdly irrelevant details. The Washington Post did not in fact comment on the President’s perky nipples.)
- Bang! Obama shoots skeet (politico.com)
- White House posts photo of Obama skeet shooting (usatoday.com)
- Obama Skeet Shooting Photo Released By White House (PHOTO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- White House Declassifies Obama Skeet Photo (radio.foxnews.com)
- White House Releases Skeet Shooting Photo, WaPo Fact Checker Still Skeptical (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- White House Releases Picture of Obama ‘Skeet Shooting’ (conservativeread.com)
- White House releases photo of Obama skeet shooting (cbsnews.com)
- Obama skeet shooting photo… (righttruth.typepad.com)
- The Great Half-White Skeet Hunter (youviewed.com)
- Obama a skeet shooter? See new White House photo – Boston.com (boston.com)