Patterico's Pontifications


Sunday Morning Obama @ NBC: Obama Talks About the Media

Filed under: Media Bias,Obama — DRJ @ 2:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In a special edition of NBC’s Meet the Press with David Gregory taped last Friday, Obama talked about several topics including the media. First Obama noted how the media loves to have a conversation about race:

DAVID GREGORY: Just to be clear though. It wasn’t just President Carter. There are others in the Congressional Black Caucus. Other thinkers who have said that they agree. That there is racism out there in that opposition to you. I just want to be clear, are you— are you saying to the former president and others, to speak this way is counterproductive?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look— David, here’s what I’m saying. I— I— I think that— the media loves to have a conversation about race. I mean, the— this is— is catnip to— to— the media because it is a running thread in American history that’s very powerful. And it invokes some very strong emotions.

I’m not saying that race — never matters in— in any of these— public debates that we have. What I’m saying is this debate that’s taking place is not about race, it’s about people being worried about— how our government should operate.”

Then Obama talked about how the media decides who to cover:

DAVID GREGORY: In that vein, House Speaker Pelosi worried about the opposition, the tone of it, perhaps, leading to violence as it did in the 70s. There’s more recent examples of antigovernment violence— occurring even in the mid 90s. Do you worry about that?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look— I think that we have an obligation in Washington, as leaders, to make sure that we are sending a strong message. That we can disagree without being disagreeable. Without— you know, questioning each other’s motives. When we start caricaturing the other side— I think that’s a problem.

And— unfortunately, we’ve got, as I’ve said before, a 24-hour news cycle where what gets you on the news is controversy. What gets you on the news is the extreme statement. The easiest way to get 15 minutes on the news, or your 15 minutes of fame, is to be rude.

And that’s— that’s— something that I think has to change. And it starts with me. And I’ve tried to make sure that I’ve sent a clear signal. And I’ve tried to maintain an approach that says, look, we can have some serious disagreements but, at the end of the day, I’m assuming that you want the best for America just like I do.

DAVID GREGORY: You get a lot of airtime too though, and your views are not rude, (LAUGHTER) I don’t think you’d say –


PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, the— I— I— I do occupy— a pretty special seat at the moment. But— but I do think that— look I mean, let’s face it, the— if you look at the news cycle over the last— over the last week— you know, it— it— it hasn’t been the— the sensible people who, you know, very deliberately talk about the important issues that we face as a country. That’s not the folks who’ve gotten a lot of coverage.”

President Obama needs the media and I suspect he and his advisers realize he must be careful about criticizing or blaming the media when things get tough. But I hope he keeps this up. America needs a mainstream media that can set aside its affections and dislikes when it comes to politicians. Comments like this may help the media realize that.

On the other hand, there may also be some media who use this as an excuse not to cover dissenting — e.g., “rude” — voices, a decision that would marginalize the mainstream media even more than it already is.


12 Responses to “Sunday Morning Obama @ NBC: Obama Talks About the Media”

  1. it hasn’t been the— the sensible people who, you know, very deliberately talk about the important issues that we face as a country.

    You can say that again. Most of the jabbering since November 2008 has come from people like you and your various sychophants throughout the MSM. “Sensible” certainly is not a word that comes to mind when liberals are doing the talking.

    Mark (411533)

  2. That must be the reason he called his opponents on health care liars in his address to the joint session.

    from Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on healthcare (CNN transcript):

    Obama: …. Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens.

    Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie plain and simple.


    Now, there are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms — the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.

    (UNKNOWN): That’s a lie.

    That unknown was Joe Wilson.

    Mike K (addb13)

  3. I think it is just freakin’ special that Barcky claims that someone other than Barcky just lurvs to talk about race.

    JD (afa5a9)

  4. Don’t be conned by what he says, pay attention to what he does. By now we should all know he will say anything and then do whatever — often the opposite.

    He says all this “civility starts with me” crap and then allows his spokespeople to send out the most unPresidential statements, e.g. the snarky response to Chris Wallace at FoxNews.

    armadillo (a896ea)

  5. And now Fox News is reporting that Obama is very open to signing a bill that will help newspapers.

    This is a very bad idea.

    We should have no more bailouts at all, but especially newspapers.

    I can just see it now, like the bailed out banks and automakers:

    “We’ve bailed you out, now you must abide by the rules that we set.”

    Bye-bye First Amendment.

    kimsch (2ce939)

  6. I first read that BHO is open to a bailout for newspapers on The Hill, which was a link on Drudge.

    The article is a hoot. Obama talks about how good journalism is essential to the health of our democracy.

    I agree. And to be fair, when Obama’s right I need to say so. Good journalism is important.

    Of course, we don’t have that kind of journalism in the legacy media.

    So to keep from having to deal with that sort of journalism from the likes of O’Keefe and Giles, I’d bet he’s more than enthusiastic about bailing out the current crop of sycophants in major metropolitan newsrooms.

    Steve (feb1d1)

  7. Obama is right that civility starts with him–and given that he flipped off both Hillary and McCain at his rallies during the election cycle, perhaps he should take a look in the mirror and do more than admire his reflection.

    Another Chris (f29ad3)

  8. I suspect that Officer James Crowley would disagree with David Gregory about Pres. Obama being rude after Pres. Obama called him stupid. I know I would consider someone, who called me stupid, as being rude. Pres. Obama needs to learn to practice what he preaches because so far everything he tells others to do or be, he does the opposite.

    Fritz J. (69e2ba)

  9. I couldn’t bear to watch 1, much less 5 interviews with Barry. Thanks for doing that for those of us who want to maintain our sanity. The transcripts suggest that Rahm needs to oil the off-camera teleprompter because this “brainy” and “articulate” young man comes across when read as someone who can’t string a coherent sentence together, much less a well-formed idea.

    Jaime (88d0da)

  10. Definition of ‘sensible’ – agreeing with the Big O. People like ‘us’.

    But to me the logical import of what he said is a rebuke, not only to the media, but more to all the Washington politicians who have made outlandish accusations of racism and other stuff.

    He’s trying to walk a fine line between telling them to shut up, without offending the race-baiters too by denying that race is an issue. His news people won’t mind being a cat’s paw, right?

    jodetoad (059c35)

  11. Two different worlds: Breitbart knocks the MSM on its ass with an expose, and newspapers sprain their arms patting themselves on the back.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (ea1aef)

  12. “DAVID GREGORY: In that vein, House Speaker Pelosi worried about the opposition, the tone of it, perhaps, leading to violence as it did in the 70s. There’s more recent examples of antigovernment violence— occurring even in the mid 90s. Do you worry about that?

    What is he talking about, McVeigh? talk about “responsible” journalism…

    The issue is very simple. If politicians tell the truth, the public will be “happy” with the satisfaction of being treated with respect for once. Continue to lie, weasel, obfuscate, ignore, and blame shift, and the people will continue to be angry.

    And no matter which way it goes, historical precedent tells us that isolated “crazies” are the ones that do acts of terror; unless it is domestic terror from the Left, which has historical precedent of planning and carrying out such acts from an established, organized network of like-minded individuals. In addition, proponents of such behavior (e.g., Bill Ayers) are unrepentant, and for the moment do not use such tactics (primarily?, only?) because they don’t work as well as the “infiltrate and rot from the inside” model that is currently in use.

    MD in Philly (d4f9fa)

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