Why does the mainstream media continue to do this? Why does it try to make fair analysis look like right wing bias by refusing to admit the obvious?
I am genuinely perplexed.
I wrote about the President’s petty and inept effort to upstage the GOP presidential debates earlier than most. concluding that 1) it was intentional, 2) it showed, as usual, awful leadership instincts; 3) it would make the likelihood of Republican cooperation in essential policy initiatives worse, not better, and finally, 4) that the White House, once it was blocked by Speaker Boehner, was lying when it claimed that the conflict was accidental.
This was not some calculated ideological spin; I don’t do that. I may be full of baloney sometimes, but I don’t do that. My analysis was based on conventional and scholarly knowledge of what constitutes leadership, fairness, and professionalism. But the President’s media cheering section, which has mastered the art of making objective criticism seem like “conservative attacks”, once again attempted to misrepresent the story to suit the kind of political agenda objective journalists are ethically bound to avoid.
Here’s the Washington Post in its early edition yesterday:“The dust-up underscored Obama’s dilemma as he attempts to show progress on the economy while distancing himself from a dysfunctional Washington.”
What? The “dust-up” showed the President intentionally making Washington more dysfunctional! How could it be otherwise, when he chose to show total disdain for the opposition party’s nominating process, creating a scheduling conflict when doing so was completely unnecessary, and when he had shown more deference to “Dancing With the Stars” only a few months ago?
But the conservatives were weighing in by the time the Post hit the doorsteps around D.C….the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, blogger Ann Althouse, Rush/Sean/Mark and Fox, and many more, all stating the obvious, enthusiastically, perhaps, because it underscored past criticism of Obama, but also accurately. Obama had tried to sock it to the Republicans in a petty tactic especially inappropriate given the importance of the topic of his speech, and especially foolish given that whatever he proposes will need GOP support. Next, a bit behind, the liberal leaning outlets, like Politico, arrived at the same conclusion. When Democratic strategist James Carville said Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the White House’s attempt to step on the debate had been wrong and “out of bounds,” it was clear that the jig was up.
Damn, said the Post. Guess it’s not going to work…this time. I suppose we’ll just have to tell the truth. So later in the day, after slavishly following the White House lie that, heavens to Betsy! There was no intentional ploy in the President’s choice of speech times!, thus setting up any objective observer, such as Ethics Alarms, as part of the right wing attack machine when it drew rational conclusions from apparent facts, the Post starts saying what everyone—everyone but a biased media determined to protect the President at the cost of its last pathetic shreds of integrity, that is—was saying at the beginning:
“Obama had aggressively scheduled his speech for precisely the same time this coming Wednesday as a long-scheduled Republican presidential candidates debate in California. But the gambit backfired when Boehner (R-Ohio) objected and forced him to come Thursday instead, providing instant fodder for pundits, bloggers and the Twitterverse.”
Yes, gambit. An intentional tactic, not, as the White House still claims, an inadvertent scheduling snafu that those mean old conservatives are making such a big deal out of. Now the suddenly critical Post wasn’t painting the incident as an example of poor, reasonable, “only adult in the room” Obama trying to separate himself from a nasty political environment, as it had earlier in the day:
“…Yet the nothing-to-see-here spin was hard to square with the fact that it was the White House that created the drama in the first place. In announcing Obama’s intent to speak at the same time as the Republican debate, Carney on Wednesday called it “coincidental” and went to great pains to suggest that scheduling a rare joint session required significant planning and that the date had been carefully selected.
“There are a lot of factors that go into scheduling a speech before Congress, a joint session speech,” Carney had said. “There are other issues that you have to deal with, as well as congressional scheduling and the president’s scheduling.”
“Contrast that with the breezy air Carney assumed a day later after Boehner rejected the date: “If Thursday’s the day, Thursday’s the day. It’s irrelevant. It’s small stuff. Wednesday was the soonest possible day upon Congress’s return from recess. But Thursday is fine with us.”
“The public, Carney said, doesn’t “give a lick what day the president speaks before Congress. They want to hear from him, want to know what his proposals are, want to know if he has serious, sound ideas to grow the economy and create jobs.”
“Right, a reporter said, but if the president and Congress can’t agree on a calendar date for a speech, how could the American people expect them to pass a major jobs plan to boost the ailing economy?”
Exactly. Which is also what Ethics Alarms posted Wednesday evening, only to find itself briefly in a mob of furious right wingers, as the Post and its colleagues tried to sit back and say, “See? This is just a conservative story!”
And were willing to lie to the public to do it. This time, it didn’t work
Well, I guess I answered my own questions. “Why does the mainstream media continue to do this? Why does it try to make fair analysis look like right wing bias by refusing to admit the obvious?”
They do it because it works a lot of the time, perhaps even most of the time. They also do it because politically sympathetic citizens who should and usually do display more integrity, continue to allow the media to behave this way by denying that its obvious bias exists. This gives the Post and others license to deceive and manipulate.
I wonder when all of the public, and not just those in the center and on the right, will demand that it stops.
UPDATE: Give the Post credit, though: the die-hard Obama media defenders, notably the New York Times, have moved to the “change the subject by blaming the Republicans” tact, and the Post has had the self-respect not to follow. According to the Times, it was disrespectful for Boehner not to let the President demand that Congress assent to his efforts to sabotage the GOP candidates debate…as if POTUS has the right to dictate to the Legislative branch in the interest of pure politics. Well, he doesn’t.
Obama is the one who denigrated and degraded his high office by stooping to petty tricks; Boehner cannot be faulted for refusing to play along. Act like a leader of a nation, Mr. President, and you shall be treated as one.
I honestly believe that he does not know how.