Patterico's Pontifications


ObamaCare: Does the media matter?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:14 am

[Posted by Karl]

Last week, ObamaCare dominated the American mediascape:

For the week of September 7-13, the battle over health care reform accounted for 32% of the newshole, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. That equals the previous high-water mark in PEJ’s News Coverage Index, which monitors the agenda of the mainstream media. That occurred during the week of August 10-16, when angry town hall confrontations were driving the press narrative.

Last week, the event fueling media attention was President Obama’s September 9 prime time address to Congress. In much of the coverage, the speech was depicted as a crucial attempt to regain momentum after a month when Obama opponents seemed to assume the upper hand in the message/political wars. But as it turned out, Obama had to share the media’s post-speech post-mortems with Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, who heckled the President with the now famous “you lie” shout.

That is as favorable a media position as Pres. Obama is likely to have on the issue: the telegenic orator’s made-for-TV joint session of Congress, with the made-to-order villain who called the president a liar (or so the establishment media would report). In contrast, the prior peak week of August 10-16 featured heavy coverage of “death panels” and town hall confrontations.

Nevertheless, the weekend polling (usually favorable to Democrats) from Rasmussen, the Washington Post/ABC News, CNN and USA TODAY/Gallup failed to show support for ObamaCare more than a point or two outside the margin of error. Rasmussen, which had one of the larger pro-Obama bounces, now shows support for ObamaCare is already back to its tepid pre-speech levels.

In this context, the news that Pres. Obama is going to appear on five Sunday talk shows takes on an “I’m dancing as fast as I can” quality. The NYT’s Adam Nagourney writes, “If there’s one thing this White House doesn’t seem worried about, it is that Americans will get tired of seeing President Obama.” Maybe they should be. Pres. Obama has done roughly three times as many interviews as George W. Bush or Bill Clinton did in their first seven months as president — a period during which Pres. Obama’s approval ratings have fallen further than most presidents since World War II. Or maybe Obama’s omnipresence in the media simply does not matter, and people are simply tuning him out like a dog food commercial.


34 Responses to “ObamaCare: Does the media matter?”

  1. “dancing as fast as he can” LOL

    When I see him come onscreen TV, the wife changes the channel. Says she can’t stand a liar.

    My take, defeat for Obama is not going to be pretty.

    bill-tb (365bd9)

  2. Heck, I’m with your wife. This narcissistic bozo lost me a long time ago–on the day I woke up and realized I just could not get him off my TV set. He was everywhere.

    I want a President, not an infomercial.

    Mike Myers (d62fe4)

  3. What do you expect from a true narcissist like Obama? Granted, every POTUS has to be narcissistic to an extent, but he’s pretty much broken the mold with his endless navel – gazing. He should take the great architect Mies Van Der Roh’s advice – “less is more.”

    Dmac (a93b13)

  4. I want a President, not an infomercial.

    Title of a future Charles Krauthammer column.

    Official Internet Data Office (4dc17c)

  5. This month has seen a significant change in the media landscape.

    Van Jones was forced out of office, and ACORN is under threat, driven by grassroots media (with honourable mention to FOX). The old mainstream has lost control of the agenda.

    Evil Pundit (42e904)

  6. I actually prefer watching dog food commercials to watching Obama, and I own a cat.

    Rochf (ae9c58)

  7. Some dog food commercials are pretty interesting, and informative.
    And they use the cutest dogs. My wife won’t let me change the channel during a dog food ad.
    Who’s this other guy you’re talking about?

    Richard Aubrey (a9ba34)

  8. #4: it gives new meaning to “ShamWow!”

    Eric Blair (0b61b2)

  9. According to that most competent of former presidents, Jimmy Carter, we are all racists.

    Rochf (ae9c58)

  10. everyone will be famous for 15 minutes
    everyone will be a Nazi for 15 minutes
    everyone will be a jackass for 15 minutes
    everyone will be a racist for …. EVER!!

    quasimodo (4af144)

  11. Just came across this blog today, and really enjoyed it! Keep up the good work.

    I posted a hilarious YouTube video about Obama and the current debate over the size of government today on my site. Check it out:

    RJ (eb7b96)

  12. I’d definitely rather see a dog food commercial. I too, refuse to watch if he’s on. He’s on waaaayyy too much.

    Do something, doofus, don’t just talk.

    Andy (b63f79)

  13. “I want a President, not an infomercial.
    Comment by Mike Myers — 9/16/2009 @ 8:33 am”

    And he’s not even as good a salesman as Billy Mays was. What’s up with him being on commercials? He has no shame. I refuse to have the tv/radio on when he is on it.

    PatAZ (9d1bb3)

  14. Bumper sticker

    quasimodo (4af144)

  15. “I’m dancing as fast as I can” quality.

    Clearly one hears the word TAP in front of “dancing” thus negating this analysis for its racist imagery of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Arthur Duncan of The Lawrence Welk Show fame.

    SPC Jack Klompus (c1922b)

  16. SPC Jack Klompus,

    Clearly, that’s what MoDo hears.

    Karl (f07e38)

  17. Yes, the media does matter, it matters to folks who don’t have the time or interest to wade through ugly political swamps in order to inform themselves, but who nevertheless feel obligated to vote. In other words, the otherwise good people who now wish they hadn’t voted for Obama.

    Ropelight (6f0b7c)

  18. One of the mainstay Political Science textbooks for undergrads studying the Presidency is the Richard Neustadt book on Presidential Power. It hasn’t been updated in some time, and probably should be, but it gives a useful lens with which to look at Presidential power. There are others, to be certain, but it is a good place to start.

    The central thesis of the book is that “The power of the President is the power to persuade.” Most of the book is taken up with case studies of individual presidencies which advance the argument.

    What Obama doesn’t seem to understand is that the use of the bully pulpit is one of diminishing returns. When a President speaks on rare occasion, then what he has to say has greater gravity. When the President does a press conference every day and follows it with a string of interviews on every network and a spot on Letterman, he has hit that point of diminishing returns — possibly increasing negative sentiment.

    Obama would do well to learn the lesson of Woodrow Wilson’s push for the League of Nations on his Western Tour. He would also do well to study the folly of much of Wilson’s progressive politics…but that is another matter.

    Christian (22837a)

  19. At least we don’t have to suffer through, “Billy Mays for Obama!”

    PCD (02f8c1)

  20. Per Fox News All-Stars via National Review, Charles Krauthammer had an astute (and funny) line about MoDo and friends:

    “You know, the accusation of racism is a sign of desperation by people who know they are losing the national debate, and they want to hurl the ultimate charge in American politics.

    “This is dealing from the bottom of the deck, and I agree that it is a disgusting tactic. It’s done as a way to end debate. The minute you call somebody a racist, the debate is over. You don’t continue….

    “Accusations of racism are the last refuge of the liberal scoundrel.

    “As for Maureen Dowd, imagining a word [“boy”] that wasn’t said: Well, in my previous profession, I saw a lot of people who heard words that weren’t said. They were called patients. Many of them were actually helped with medication.

    “The reason she won’t be — and others who are hurling the [racism] accusation — is because it is a deliberate attempt to change the subject and discredit the opposition with an unprovable — and unproven — ad hominem.”

    Bubba Maximus (456175)

  21. I sense desperation in both the White House and the left in general. The black caucus drove that farcical “debate” about Wilson in the House. They are going to go bats**t crazy before the end of his term. The racism stuff has only just begun and like most accusations, works only when it is rare.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  22. This Administration reminds me of a gambler who has staked his house on a single hand and lost, but rather than get up from the table and walk away, he continues to play double-or-nothing, hoping that somehow he’ll get lucky and come up with a winning hand. From the time he began running for President, Obama has struck me as a man who believed all the hype that his own people were putting out about his rhetorical skills. There is no problem, domestic or international, that he thinks he cannot solve if he can find just the right rhetorical flourish. Problem is, cotton candy is good for a bit, but it’s not filling and too much of it will make you sick. We are witnessing the Cotton Candy Presidency.

    Harrell (1472a4)

  23. I have known a few narcissists. They first come across as over-friendly type-A personalities, but VERY soon you can hardly stand to be around their self-centered blather.

    Probably the biggest concentration I ever met was in prisons, where I took AA meetings for years. They can’t seem to control their justifications, egocentricity, and outsized personalities. Persons who can control themselves probably are valuable in some arenas, but still tiresome.

    Obama is making a big mistake. The public is not stupid. The least one can wonder is, if he is either speaking in public, on TV, or playing golf or on vacation all the damned time, who is running the show? Go home, Obama, do your job.

    jodetoad (059c35)

  24. Wait a second. The left engages in ad hominem attacks in order to distract or confuse the public in regards to their agenda?

    Who knew?

    And here I thought that the former president was just being a good citizen in bringing to light the ugly stain of racism infecting those who dare to speak loudest against the current president’s attempts to steer our nation into socialism. After all, he wasn’t merely stating his opinion, was he? No, all his years of accumulated knowledge and wisdom have given him the ability to look into people’s hearts and divine the truth of their motivations!

    You see, they don’t really hate the proposed legislation itself — they hate its champion; and not because they disagree with his ideology (heaven forfend!), but because he’s different . . . he’s one of them.

    Jimmy knows.
    Jimmy knows.

    He’s from the South, you know.

    Jimmy knows.

    Icy Texan (259a85)

  25. The headline oversells the real statement:

    In her statement, Lewis said “no new intakes will be accepted into ACORN’s offices for service programs, effective immediately.”

    I see this more as defensive–Acorn is simply setting up a firewall to prevent another 1,000 people with a video pen from doing similar stings in the next few weeks.

    BfC (5209ec)

  26. !Bam(my new moniker for Kate M.’s last action zero) is such a stiff, I predict the Donks will ‘make it so’ by next fall or fall on their swords.

    gary gulrud (06aaa3)

  27. According to that most competent of former presidents, Jimmy Carter, we are all racists.

    You forgot to add that all of our problems in the Middle East are caused by the evil Jooooos. Jimmah hates him some Israelis, but good.

    Dmac (a93b13)

  28. I grew up in the same South Jimmy Carter did. He does not speak for anyone but himself. What a jerk.

    PatAZ (9d1bb3)

  29. And now we have Maxine Waters on record saying that the use of the term “Obamacare” is racist.
    Would someone start a score card of all of the racist terms–I can’t keep this stuff straight.

    Rochf (ae9c58)

  30. “Per Fox News All-Stars via National Review, Charles Krauthammer…:

    “As for Maureen Dowd, imagining a word [“boy”] that wasn’t said: Well, in my previous profession, I saw a lot of people who heard words that weren’t said. They were called patients. Many of them were actually helped with medication….
    Comment by Bubba Maximus — 9/16/2009 @ 12:12 pm”

    Thank you for passing it on, it was so good I thought it should be highlighted.

    MD in Philly (d4f9fa)

  31. Let Barack-Ula keep digging. Let him go on TV a hundred times next week. There is a point of diminishing return and he is fast appraching his. He keeps using the same techniques that worked during the campaign like the Big Speech and he thinks that the press will love him just like they did back then. They will try but there is less and less to love this time as he and his fellow lefties in Congress are proving to be incompetant. At some point he will be tuned out by most people. He won’t be the new thing anymore.

    As an aside, I just wish he were going to hit bottom closer to the end of his four year term than now. What we will hear at that time is talk of comebacks like we had with Clinton and the press, and as our better Chris Matthews said, they will do everything in their power to re-elect him. If you think we are being called racists now, just wait until 2012 when BO is up for re-election and Newsweek, et. al. run stories like Will Whites Re-Elect A Black Man? Also the mid-term elections could prove to be the best thing that happens to BO because if he proves to be able to work with a divided congress (assuming that R’s make significant gains in 2010)He can run on that. Hopefully he will be more like Jimmy Carter and not be able to work with anyone.

    BT (78b929)

  32. “In this context, the news that Pres. Obama is going to appear on five Sunday talk shows takes on an ‘I’m dancing as fast as I can’ quality.”

    Sounds like a racist comment to me. “Dancing as fast as I can?” Definitely racist. 😉

    JerryT (5a2ac1)

  33. Bill Clinton just chimed in with his “shuck and jive” remark.

    Dmac (a93b13)

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