There has definitely been a different tone in mainstream media coverage of the Obama administration since the current wave of scandals hit the headlines. Has the news media finally decided to vet President Obama?
To some extent: yes. I think that the news of the Department of Justice’s monitoring of the AP press pool in particular had an impact in how the press views the White House. And there are only but so many times you can listen to Jay Carney blatantly and obviously lie to you before that starts to get annoying, I would think.
On the other hand, Breitbart is quick to point out that not a single one of the scandals was actually broken by the American press. Now, Breitbart being Breitbart, the site has a definite bias and really reaches to actually make their case, but I think the fundamental reality–that the press doesn’t really pursue the Obama administration they way it has others–is true. The Daily Caller points out that the initial New York Times opinion piece critical of the Obama administration (President Obama’s Dragnet) was quietly edited to dampen the initial criticism of President Obama. Initially, it stated that the Obama administration “has lost all credibility”, but within a few hours this had been qualified to read “administration has now lost all credibility on this issue.” (emphasis added by Daily Caller).
From where I’m standing, it looks like the American journalistic establishment feels a lot less obligated to carry President Obama now that he has secured a second term. Their work, in a sense, is done. There’s therefore a lot more freedom to criticize the President, but not much appetite for it. All the criticism to date is indirect if it refers to President Obama at all. If it were not for international press and the right-wing alternative media, I don’t think we would know as much today as we currently do.
4 thoughts on “The Mainstream Media and Obama”
I don’t think very much of the current scandals will really be traced back to Obama, especially not while he’s in office. I have a theory on that which probably sounds like a bit of crazy but I’ll put a bit of it out here.
I think most of the folks doing the heavy lifting of these scandals are folks who ideologically agree with Obama’s viewpoint. I think that even if it was ultimately Obama who indicated he wanted some of this to happen those who pushed for it will not admit to it because they are folks who are so devoted to him that they just plain won’t tell.
I would guess at this point that much of it started back from his campaign folks, the leaders of which have stated to various degrees that if he won it was ‘payback time’ to everyone who opposed him. I think that message got out to certain folks in the right positions and they decided that they would do what they could to punish opponents of the president.
I also think that much of it stems from what I’ve read as the ‘chicago’ style politics. The mentality of ‘do what we want or you’ll regret it’ and anyone who was even remotely a fence sitter knew and could see what was happening to those opposed and they were scared into doing whatever they were told.
To sum up my ramblings, the election campaign folks used heavy handed political sway with a backup of ‘or else’ to get things done to their opponents even if it wasn’t technically legal (or was outright illegal).
I wouldn’t at this point try to say it’s Obama’s fault, even if it really is…personally I don’t care to blame him. What I do blame him for is not calling for the resignation of those involved (IRS scandal) and at that providing a completely different position for one of those who was not only involved but pleaded the 5th while stating she did nothing wrong. That totally doesn’t look like cronyism….
1) There are only 2 political appointees at the IRS. One, the acting head of the IRS, resigned. His predecessor, under which the Tea Party targeting actually occurred, was a George W. Bush appointee unanimously confirmed by the Senate in March 2008. This was a full three months before the Democratic primary ended, at which point Obama led Hillary’s 1,427 delegates by just 100: http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_wires/2008Mar14/0,4675,IRSCommissioner,00.html
2) The manager of the IRS Screening Group in Cincinnati (the Screening Group that is at the epicenter of the targeting) is…. a self-identified conservative Republican whose been working for the IRS for 21 years: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/06/irs-manager-behind-tea-party-screening-conservative-republican
3) Non-political appointees (aka career civil servants) can’t be fired by the President. Imagine an IRS where the President could fire and hire people at will. Now THAT’S an IRS that’s open to cronyism. That Lois Lerner plead the 5th and Obama didn’t can her is exactly as it should be.
4) I like how politics was so nice before the black guy from Chicago got in the game. lol
I think your first three points are very valid, thegalen, but the last one isn’t. Accusing every criticism of Obama as being racist is tedious.
Please note that the peak of corruption was in the 1970s with Mayor Richard Daley who was white, but is traced back to the 1920s and is perceived to exist to this day. Chicago’s reputation for corruption and hardball politics has absolutely nothing to do with race, nor was it invented out of thin air as some kind of dog-whistle conspiracy when Obama showed up.
I should say that the first points are valid, but not as conclusive as you think they are.
1 – Schulman (acting IRS director appointed by W. Bush) may have been appointed by a Republican, but his last donation was to the DNC in 2004. You forgot to mention that in his bio.
2 – Whether or not the activity was really centered and isolated in Ohio is a matter for investigation, especially as anonymous IRS workers have claimed that the directions always came from DC and evidence of wrong doing has been found in DC-based offices.
3 – I largely agree with this, but what I feel that you’re dancing around is the fact that the IRS, as DoT agency, is in the executive branch. As is the FBI (through the DoJ), whence the AP wiretapping scandals. It’s unrealistic to expect the President to know everything that is going on, but as the number of possible scandals reaches 4 or 5 or whatever and the President’s response continues to be “I found out about this when you did, from CNN!” the impression solidifies that he doesn’t have a clue what his administration is up to, either by incompetent leadership or by intentional insulation.
In any case you addressed 1 of the scandals. The biggest (at the time of this article) and the one that prompted Breitbart’s article was the revelation of PRISM, etc. through The Guardian.
These really aren’t great days for the American press in terms of watchdog capabilities.
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