While the mainstream media are still overwhelmingly intent on seeing Barack Obama reelected as President, a number of journalists and news organizations are apparently having second thoughts. Or at least they are willing to examine the claims and representations that the Obama administration continues to put forth. This has been the surprising case regarding Obama’s State of the Union address in late January and the budget that he proposed in mid-February. Hopefully this may mark a turning point in how the media allow themselves to be used by the Obama administration, but don’t count on it. More likely it is isolated incidents of self-respect, and an acknowledgement that they can differentiate between normal political spin and outright lies.
The double standard still could not be more clear. During the many Republican debates there has been a constant effort to get the candidates to provide sound bites for Democratic ads during the general election, calling each other liars and flip-floppers, moderates, liberals, influence peddlers, and plutocrats. The ABC New Hampshire debate in which George Stephanopoulos spent a substantial amount of time on the burning issue of whether or not states have the right to ban contraception seemed like a Saturday Night Live skit in how it attempted to make the candidates appear radical. But now it looks more like coordination with the White House in preparation for their battle to make contraception a “free” entitlement for all under ObamaCare.
President Obama rarely faces such questions. He has been able to largely stay above the fray, managing the news flow, picking softball interviewers like NBC’s Matt Lauer before the Super Bowl, and ABC’s Diane Sawyer a few days before that. But what is new, and has the ability to change the dynamics, is that some of the loyal left in the media have begun to actually directly challenge Obama’s claims and narrative. Not enough of them, but it is starting to happen.
There are still hard-to-believe spectacles such as the Super Bowl on February 4 that played like an infomercial for the reelection of President Obama, in front of an audience estimated at 110 million people. But what is new is that within a day of the President’s State of the Union (SOTU) address, the Associated Press (AP) and The Washington Post were both out with detailed refutations of some of Obama’s signature claims—claims to do with the auto industry, the green energy industry, job creation, the size and scope of government under his term in office, Afghanistan, tax fairness, energy production, and relations with Israel.
During halftime of the Super Bowl was the much talked about two-minute Chrysler ad, with Clint Eastwood, calling it “halftime in America” and seeming to endorse a second Obama term, while suggesting the President was in the middle of a great accomplishment, namely saving America’s auto industry and with it the city of Detroit, Michigan.