Obama Creates A Mainstream Press Problem For Himself
August 20, 2012 11 Comments
Newsweek’s cover story this week is “Why Barack Obama Needs To Go.” The cover story is written by Niall Ferguson, a former adviser to the McCain campaign. In other words, the Newsweek cover story isn’t actually news, it’s commentary. Newsweek almost always leans to the left, so a piece of right-wing commentary appearing on the front cover is surprising. But that Newsweek places commentary on the cover rather than news perhaps in part explains the downfall of weekly news magazines. In any event, what this piece of right-wing commentary on the front cover represents is the mainstream press warning Obama about ignoring them.
Ferguson does a terrific job laying out the case against Barack Obama’s re-election. From the fact that 110 million people received welfare last year to the fact that only 50% paid income or capital gains taxes last year to the disaster of Federal debt and Obamacare Ferguson makes a strong case. At the center of that case, indeed at the center of any case against Obama, is the complete lack of experience Obama had when he entered the White House. Obama has never offered a vision to the public. He may have a vision for what he wants but he has no idea how to get there.
The real story here though is that a left-wing, mainstream publication is willing to put this sort of story on the cover. The press has grown increasingly tired of Obama mistreating them. He hasn’t taken a mainstream press reporter’s question in two months. He hasn’t held a press conference in the US since last June when he declared the private sector was doing fine. The last time he took questions was at the G20 conference in Mexico when he filibustered three questions and made absolutely no sense in his answers. One might be able to understand why he avoids the press, he makes a major gaffe ever time he talks to them.
Where the Obama campaign really goes wrong though is in its defense of interviews given to People and Entertainment Tonight. They declared those “news” outlets to be equal to the mainstream press, at least in terms of importance. The mainstream press apparently feels dissed by all of this, according to Jake Tapper. So it should surprise no one that mainstream press organizations like Newsweek are more willing to attack Obama. If he won’t speak to the mainstream press and if he pretends like entertainment news outlets are equally as important, why should the mainstream media continue to fawn over the President?
Where the Obama campaign goes wrong is in declaring the entertainment news outlets of equal importance to the White House press. It simply isn’t true and in the process Obama’s surrogates are insulting their own voters. Entertainment news isn’t equal to the White House press, local media however is. Even in that Obama manages to look distant, even with the most friendly radio host. One host in Iowa wanted restaurant suggestions for Chicago. Obama sounded like he had never been to Chicago before and offered only the most cliché restaurants. While amusing, that sort of press is important because it can be targeted.
Obama has a press problem right now. It isn’t fatal, the mainstream media is still left-wing and they’ll continue to repeat his press releases. But they’re annoyed, to the point that Newsweek has a cover story commentary arguing for Obama’s replacement as President. They’re annoyed to the point of grumbling about lack of interviews. The Obama campaign has only made matters worse, which ensures for the time being slightly less favorable treatment. The solution is to either hold a press conference or give an interview to one or two of these people. But Obama cannot afford to do that, he always seems to make a mistake that gives Romney traction. He’s in a rough place with a formerly adoring media.