In Which the Man With an Infomercial on Prime-Time Network TV Complains About Press Coverage
6:55 PM, Jun 16, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Sure, he'll be chatting it up from the East Room at the White House on Wednesday for an hour about his health care plan with no opposition in sight.
He called the idea that he's gotten an easy ride from the press "very hard to swallow." Delusional and totally graceless for a man who's gotten the journalistic tongue bath he's received from so many outlets (with the notable exceptions of a few in the White House press pool, who are great to watch). During the campaign, I counted Obama as smarter than his fellow travelers on the left blogs. I applauded him for appearing on Fox, with O'Reilly and Chris Wallace, where he might actually reach some of the Americans he referred to as "bitter clingers," thereby increasing his chance of winning them to his side. And, barring that, he stood the chance to gain a modicum of respect from millions of engaged voters who might not have voted for him, but did end up having him as president.
One would think he wouldn't want to erase the impact of his outreach by harping on Fox's critical coverage like a tiny baby. Obama copped to his special press treatment at the White House Correspondents Dinner: "Most of you covered me (pause)... All of you voted for me."
Now, unless I was way off in my interpretation, that wasn't one of those jokes that's funny because it's not true. It was funny because it was so very close to true, and you could tell based on the initially nervous tittering that broke into peals of unsuppressed laughter in the room.
Wouldn't it be better just to soft-pedal this? "Look, I think the guys in the press pool room have certainly gotten their licks in on ol' Gibbsy. He might disagree with your premise. Ha ha. Hey, everyone's doing their jobs, here, and I try to answer criticisms wherever I'm confronted with them, including at several prime-time press conferences, and here tonight with you, where I'm sure you won't be rolling over for me. Har-dee-har-har."
Instead, Obama has joined the ranks of the left bloggers in blaming a cable news network for all the problems his agenda encounters, despite the fact that the man is governing, not only with the near-explicit support of many in the media, but with tremendous popularity and a tremendous edge in both the House and Senate.
But it's not his ideas or ability to govern that are at fault. Nope. It's Megyn Kelly. It strikes me that this is just another in a long line of unsuccessful attacks by the administration on individual commentators who dare to criticize it- Rick Santelli, Rush Limbaugh, Jim Cramer, and now Fox News anchors and Fox News viewers. It has been counterproductive so far, so why keep at it?
My, how times have changed. Back in 2007, according to Newsweek's Evan Thomas, it was the press' job to "bash the president, that's what we do." Now, according to the same man, it's apparently their job to call him God.
And, Obama's still complaining.