View Full Version : Media Loves Obama? You Betcha...Time To Bring The Facts...

06-02-2009, 03:05 PM

Our unhealthy infatuation with Obama By Robert J. Samuelson
Washington Post

Published on Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009
WASHINGTON: The Obama infatuation is a great unreported story of our time. Has any recent president basked in so much favorable media coverage? Well, maybe John Kennedy for a moment; but no president since. On the whole, this is not healthy for America.

Our political system works best when a president faces checks on his power. But the main checks on Obama are modest. They come from congressional Democrats, who largely share his goals if not always his means. The leaderless and confused Republicans don't provide effective opposition. And the press — on domestic, if not foreign, policy — has so far largely abdicated its role as skeptical observer.

Obama has inspired a collective fawning. What started in the campaign (the chief victim was Hillary Clinton, not John McCain) has continued, as a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism shows. It concludes: ''President Barack Obama has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush during their first months in the White House.''

The study examined 1,261 stories by the Washington Post, the New York Times, ABC, CBS and NBC, Newsweek magazine and the NewsHour on PBS. Favorable stories (42 percent) were double the unfavorable (20 percent) , while the rest were ''neutral'' or ''mixed.'' Obama's treatment contrasts sharply with coverage in the first two months of the presidencies of Bush (22 percent of stories favorable) and Clinton (27 percent).

Unlike Bush and Clinton, Obama received favorable coverage in both news columns and opinion pages. The nature of stories also changed. ''Roughly twice as much of the coverage of Obama (44 percent) has concerned his personal and leadership qualities than was the case for Bush (22 percent) or Clinton (26 percent),'' the report said. ''Less of the coverage, meanwhile, has focused on his policy agenda.''

When Pew broadened the analysis to 49 outlets — cable channels, news Web sites, morning news shows, more newspapers and National Public Radio — the results were similar, despite some outliers. No surprise: MSNBC was favorable, Fox was not. Another study, released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, reached parallel conclusions.
The infatuation matters because Obama's ambitions are so grand. He wants to expand health-care subsidies, tightly control energy use and overhaul immigration. He envisions the greatest growth of government since Lyndon Johnson. The Congressional Budget Office estimates federal spending in 2019 at nearly 25 percent of the economy (gross domestic product). That's well up from the 21 percent in 2008, and far above the post-World War II average; it would also occur before many baby boomers retire.

Are his proposals practical, even if desirable? Maybe they're neither? What might be unintended consequences? All ''reforms'' do not succeed; some cause more problems than they solve. Johnson's economic policies, inherited from Kennedy, proved disastrous; they led to the 1970s' ''stagflation.'' The ''war on poverty'' failed. The press should not be hostile; but it ought to be skeptical.

Mostly, it isn't. The idea of a ''critical'' Obama story is a tactical conflict with congressional Democrats or criticism from an important constituency. Larger issues are minimized, despite ample grounds for skepticism.

Obama's rhetoric brims with inconsistencies. In the campaign, he claimed he would de-emphasize partisanship — and also enact a highly partisan agenda; both couldn't be true. He got a pass. Now, he claims he will control health-care spending even though he proposes more government spending. He promotes ''fiscal responsibility'' when projections show huge and continuous budget deficits. Journalists seem to take his pronouncements at face value even when many are two-faced.

The cause of this acquiescence isn't clear. The press sometimes follows opinion polls; popular presidents get good coverage, and Obama is enormously popular. By Pew, his job performance rating is 63 percent. But because favorable coverage began in the campaign, this explanation is at best partial.

Perhaps the preoccupation with the present economic crisis has diverted attention from the long-term implications of other policies. But the deeper explanation may be as straightforward as this: Most journalists like Obama; they admire his command of language; he's a relief after Bush; they agree with his agenda (so it never occurs to them to question basic premises); and they don't want to see the first African-American president fail.

Whatever, a great edifice of government may arise on the narrow foundation of Obama's personal popularity. Another Pew survey shows that since the election both self-identified Republicans and Democrats have declined. ''Independents'' have increased, and ''there has been no consistent movement away from conservatism, nor a shift toward liberalism.''
The press has become Obama's silent ally and seems in a state of denial. But the story goes untold: Unsurprisingly, the study of all the favorable coverage received little coverage.

Samuelson is a Washington Post columnist.

06-02-2009, 03:54 PM
Excellent piece.

It is sad that the mainstream media has deteriorated into a Obama mouthpiece.

06-02-2009, 04:23 PM
It's no surprise to me. Every newsroom I ever worked in was easily made up of 85% Democrats, and more than half were what I'd call truly hardcore liberals. Journalism attracts a lot of people who get into it as a means to gain a voice for some kind of social activism. OMGbama is basically their wet dream.

06-02-2009, 04:28 PM
As Samuelson so rightly points out (and I have alluded to before), we are NOT best served by a fawning and star-struck media. It sure seems like they filter everything through rose-colored "I love Obama" glasses and then disseminate their tainted and biased opinion pieces masquerading as news. This is especially dangerous since SO many people get their data spoon-fed to them now, and can't synthesize an original thought to save their lives.

This is only made worse by the fact that this dude is making huge, literally generational spanning changes in what seems like a willy-nilly knee-jerk fashion, and nobody even bothers to question it. Worse yet, people seem to go out of their way to defend every action this guy takes, no matter how ridiculous, or, as we've seen with the widespread adoption of Bush policies, contrary to their own previous vehemently guarded positions his stances may actually be.

"12 trillion in unsustainable debt by 2019? Pah! Obama said we'll be out of this recession by Spring of '09 at the very latest. Nothing to see here".

This kind of thinking (or rather lack thereof) will get this country bankrupted. Or worse!

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will watch the watchers?

06-02-2009, 04:32 PM
Most journalists like Obama; they admire his command of language;

His command of languge using a teleprompter and he even screws that up a good bit of the time. :rolleyes:

he's a relief after Bush;

No comment.

they agree with his agenda (so it never occurs to them to question basic premises);

They agree with his agenda because they bought Obaaaaama's pie in the sky bullshit and looked at it on the surface instead of doing a little research and adding a spoonful of common sense. :doh:

and they don't want to see the first African-American president fail

B-I-N-G-O. :shake01:

06-02-2009, 04:40 PM
two things. First off the press. I don't have time to find the links now but I will try to post later. I did a report for a govt class and found stats stating that +65% of the media outlets were democrats. So, why would they want to talk bad about their guy?

Two: Obama is like a magician at a kids birthday party. He has this shiny object in his right hand, luring your attention to it, while the left hand is doing the actual task per say. Like in the article, he claims he is for fiscal responsibility, but he wants to expand govt health care and is running up massive amounts of debt.