The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, June 01, 2009


There is a fawning, almost worshipful, attitude that pervades media coverage of President Obama. And it’s not something that’s being imagined by those of us who want our new president to succeed, but at the same time, have reservations about parts of his domestic agenda and significant concerns about his foreign policy. It's real.

Robert Samuelson of Newsweek (certainly no enemy of Barack Obama) reports:
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’s enthusiastic, almost religious, supporters might argue that coverage is so good because the President is so good. But that’s simply not the case. No doubt his form has been excellent, but the substance of his actions is open to debate.

The President has had, even in his first 100 days, a number of significant missteps, more than a few rookie year mistakes, and has already reneged on a number of campaign promises. Nothing new there, but certainly reportable events. And yet, the MSM, continues it’s fawning coverage. Samuelson reports:
[The nonpartisan Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism] examined 1,261 stores 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).

Why is that? Is it because the media worked so hard to get the new President elected that they feel compelled to validate their efforts? Is it because Obama’s left-leaning politics is to their liking? Is it a continuation of Bush Derangement Syndrome? Hard to say.

But one thing for sure. It isn’t a good thing for the country.

To steal a phrase from left-wing ideologues—the media’s role is to speak truth to power. There is no one more powerful than the President of the United States.

Even when MSM criticism is offered, it’s always tempered by references to “inherited” situations that aren’t Obama’s fault, or obstructionist Republicans or Democrats who haven’t yet seen the light. Worse, there is little attempt to project the consequences of Obama’s policies into the future. What will the real costs be? How much “change” will result and will it be for the better? How will his profligate spending affect the next generation of workers and the current generation of soon to be retired baby boomers?

It’s the media’s job to ask questions and to allow the public to draw conclusions based on the facts they report. So far, their job performance is far worse than the President's.