Problem of the Press

The national media has been overwhelming in it’s support of President Obama, which from a freedom of choice viewpoint is fine – but from a professional stance it’s a bit of a problem.

Here’s why:

The press is supposed to be the public vetting process, or the place where powerful institutions are examined and possibly held in check. Remeber Stephen Colbert’s “speak the truth to power” bit? Yeah, well sort of like that except not just when dealing with Republicans or large corporations.

The problem is in Obama’s case there has been very little actual vetting. Outside of Fox News, no major media outlet has challenged this administrations policies – certainly not the same way they challenged the previous administration.

So the press has fallen down on the job and it will be interesting to see if or when they recover. The size and scope of Obama’s policies shouldn’t be implemented without critical scrutiny. We cannot afford to have another “urgent” issue pushed thru Congress, in a partisan manner, without a healthy functioning press.

Because they have encountered very little critical press the Obama administration may be overconfident about their support from the majority of Americans. Indeed, his election was hailed as an overwhelming triumph when in reality Obama received about the same number of votes that Bush did in his victory over Kerry in 2004. Yet Obama is commonly portrayed as hugely popular – when in fact there is serious under-reported opposition to him.

Now that healthcare is facing vigorous protests the press rushes to defend Obama and portray his opponents as extremists. The problem is these radicals are middle class Americans who are appalled at the amount of money the government is spending… money that doesn’t currently exist and that will be extracted from their pockets thru higher taxes. That’s also the sort of issue to motivate Aunt Martha and Uncle Bill to put down the remote and pick up a protest sign. These are your extremists, Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi – and not even the press can turn them away from the voting booth at the next election.

The press, which has been widely supportive of Democrats, may play a significant roll in causing their downfall through  misrepresenting the strength of the political opposition.

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