Media Yawn at Obama and Biden Snubbing Auschwitz Anniversary; Mocked Cheney’s Appearance in 2005

Tuesday marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and, naturally, the event attracted plenty of media coverage. In addition to each of the three major networks devoting segments to it on their evening newscasts, the Associated PressThe New York Times, and The Washington Post and published stories on the topic. 

Over on cable, CNN covered it multiple times throughout the day for a total of 10 minutes and 27 seconds worth of airtime. At the other end of the coverage spectrum, MSNBC pathetically made no mention of the occasion or the ceremony that took place in Poland at the site of the former Nazi concentration camp.

Despite all of the airtime, there was no criticism or mentioning on any of the liberal broadcast or cable networks that President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were not among the numerous heads of state on hand for this important occasion that also takes place on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Among the print outlets listed above, they were barely able to do any better as they left readers to infer that Obama and Biden were not in attendance by stating that U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was among the foreign leaders at the event and led the U.S. delegation.

It’s safe to say that, if a Republican administration had made the decision to not appear at the 70th anniversary of an important event from World War II, the liberal media would have found time to both cover it and make it a huge story.

In fact, when then-Vice President Dick Cheney attended the 60th anniversary in 2005, numerous media outlets mocked Cheney for committing a “fashion faux pas” by wearing a large, light-colored winter coat to the high-profile ceremony.

Washington Post article from January 28, 2005 complained that Cheney “was dressed in the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower.” The article, which was entitled “Dick Cheney, Dressing Down: Parka, Ski Cap at Odds With Solemnity of Auschwitz Ceremony,” chastised Cheney for sticking “out in a sea of black-coated world leaders because he was wearing an olive drab parka with a fur-trimmed hood.”

The Post was far from the only outlet to take shots at Cheney. As the Media Research Center’s CyberAlert from January 31, 2005 noted

The AP [Associated Press] and Reuters soon picked up the story as well as CNN's Inside Politics, PBS's Washington Week and MSNBC Countdown on which Alison Stewart hyped it as “the fashion faux pas that's becoming an international incident.”

On CNN, then-host Judy Woodruff opined that “there’s a way to stay warm and still be appropriate,” and wondered if “clothes matter in a situation like this?”

PBS host Gwen Ifill not only thanked Post writer Robin Givhan “for catching that for us,” but she also unleashed this verbal attack on Cheney: 

One more thing before we go. On occasion, most of you know, we like to point out the faux pas of people in power. Look at this: The scene is the official observance of the liberation of Auschwitz, a sober ceremony attended by world leaders, all, it seems, dressed in black, except – yup, that's Dick Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney. What was he thinking? 

While the White House did send someone of higher profile to Poland than they did for the Paris march in Secretary Lew, this gaffe served as the latest lapse in optics by the Obama administration. With as many optical errors as this administration has had, the liberal media would be completely up in arms if Obama were a Republican.

— Curtis Houck is News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Curtis Houck on Twitter.