Todd: It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging

posted at 6:01 pm on September 19, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

What role should media outlets play in dealing with political messaging from the government?  A couple of stories over the last 24 hours raise that question, which NBC’s Chuck Todd attempted to answer in regard to ObamaCare. [Note: The video is not embeddable.]  TPM titled the clip in question, “It’s Not Media’s Job to Correct GOP’s ObamaCare Falsehoods,” which is the general assumption carried into the discussion — but as Twitchy notes, isn’t exactly what Todd said, either:

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell: “If you took ten people from different parts of the country who say they’re against the bill, and sat them down, I’d love to have ten minutes with them and say, “tell me why you’re against the bill.” And if they told you anything, it would be stuff that’s incorrect.”

Chuck Todd: “But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it, and they wouldn’t have even heard – they don’t repeat the other stuff, because they haven’t even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is that people say, ‘well it’s your folks’ fault in the media. No, it’s the President of the United States’s fault for not selling it!”

Rendell: “Absolutely.”

There is a lot of nuance that Twitterers on the Left missed in that statement.  (Read Twitchy’s post for some of the more amusing responses.)  Todd’s point isn’t that the media doesn’t have a duty to correct misinformation from officials, but that the White House is losing because its own messaging hasn’t been effective.  I’d disagree with that point, too — I think it’s because people see the depressing effect ObamaCare has on full-time job creation and the rapid increase in premiums that came this year — but Todd’s overall point remains valid.  The media has a duty to referee on messaging, but not to carry water for the government, which Todd attempted to clarify later:

The problem is, of course, that the “refereeing” tends toward water-carrying in many cases.  Republican messaging gets a lot more scrutiny than Democratic messaging, despite the fact that Democrats control the Senate and the White House.

It doesn’t help when we find out about secret meetings between the White House and news organizations, either.  In this case, it didn’t help:

But that wasn’t the last time Obama met with Times editorial board members. On Aug. 29, the president again sat down for an off-the-record discussion with Rosenthal and some members of the editorial board, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Times opinion columnists David Brooks, Gail Collins and Ross Douthat also attended, but editors for the paper’s news pages did not.

The meeting came amid the White House’s push for military intervention in Syria, one of the topics discussed that day. The Times editorial board hadn’t explicitly come out for or against a strike on Syrian President Bashar Assad before the meeting, and soon after the paper still expressed concerns about the administration taking action without congressional approval and broad international support.

On Aug. 26, The Times editorial board had stressed that the White House should try exhausting diplomatic efforts before striking Syria. The paper noted that while “Assad’s use of chemical weapons surely requires a response of some kind, the arguments against deep American involvement remain as compelling as ever.”

Two days later, The Times editorial board wrote that more answers were needed from the administration on Syria. “Obama has yet to spell out how that response would effectively deter further use of chemical weapons,” the paper said.

On the afternoon of Aug. 30, Secretary of State John Kerry made the case that Syria had used chemical weapons, signaling that U.S. retaliation for crossing a “red line” drawn by Obama could be imminent. But the Times still seemed unconvinced that immediate action was the best course.

In an editorial posted online Aug. 30 and in the next day’s paper, Times editors wrote that “even in the best of circumstances, military action could go wrong in so many ways; the lack of strong domestic and international support will make it even more difficult.”

The meeting isn’t so objectionable in theory, but should be considered in context.  This is a President who rarely makes himself available for open press conferences, and does sit-down interviews with major news organizations only slightly more often — usually when he’s desperate.  Otherwise, Obama thumbs his nose at the White House press corps, preferring the lighter scrutiny of the entertainment industry.  In that context, perhaps the New York Times should have insisted on bringing its beat reporters into the meeting and putting the conversation on the record, and refusing the secret pow-wow otherwise.


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Wow, Todd just slipped out of obama’s azz, before he suffocated from what they feed in there.

Mh, he must have realized, finally, that it’s not Beluga caviar.

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Snowden

+

Syria

The annals will record that these two finally woke the media up to the reality which obama always was, a clinically NPD’d guy, made by sheer PC.

I hope their heads will roll.

Schadenfreude on September 19, 2013 at 6:05 PM

It’s the media’s job to protect the Emperor once He makes His Arguments. They aren’t worthy to make The Arguments themselves.

gwelf on September 19, 2013 at 6:05 PM

It’s the media’s job to scare Republicans.

Every time the GOP designates a hill is not to die on they cite the media backlash.

gwelf on September 19, 2013 at 6:07 PM

They don’t consider it a “job”, it’s an extension of their psyche.

Cleombrotus on September 19, 2013 at 6:11 PM

I was NOT saying it isn’t job of journos to call out lies, I said it was not job of media to sell WH’s health care message, it is WH’s job

Republicans got nothing but lies man, just lies…..only Obama and NBC have the Truth!

Johnnyreb on September 19, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Todd: It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging

That is all they currently do, without that they’s have absolutely nothing to do.

While rewriting the daily Democrat talking points isn’t much of a career or much of a challenge, it does keep food on their tables and roofs over their heads.

RJL on September 19, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Why isn’t it their job? Isn’t the media the PR arm of the Democrat party?

besser tot als rot on September 19, 2013 at 6:14 PM

I was NOT saying it isn’t job of journos to call out lies, I said it was not job of media to sell the WH’s message, it is WH’s job when there is a Republican in office!

FIFY

LeftCoastRight on September 19, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Pretty tough to “message” fewer jobs, even fewer full time jobs, fewer doctors, less R&D for drugs and devices, higher costs, virtually no choice, coercive penalties, and death panels.

forest on September 19, 2013 at 6:17 PM

We cannot let him down.

Murphy9 on September 19, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Todd: It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging

It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging, it’s the media’s duty .

burrata on September 19, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Mainstream media group photo……..

Send in the clowns Chuck Todd.

http://www.amusingplanet.com/2010/10/mexicos-congress-of-clowns.html

PappyD61 on September 19, 2013 at 6:25 PM

So what is it then???

“Extra Credit”??

BigWyo on September 19, 2013 at 6:25 PM

The Parrot blames the cat.

pat on September 19, 2013 at 6:28 PM

This is a President who rarely makes himself available for open press conferences, and does sit-down interviews with major news organizations only slightly more often — usually when he’s desperate.

And almost exclusively with friendly “journalists”. How long did Steve Croft/CBS sit on his Benghazi not being a terrorist attack statements?

gwelf on September 19, 2013 at 6:29 PM

How long did Steve Croft/CBS sit on his Benghazi not being a terrorist attack statements?

gwelf on September 19, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Let’s see who in the media has the decency to even report this :

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, revealed that Democrats excused themselves from a Thursday hearing on Benghazi before the family members of the slain American heroes testified.

It is unclear why Democrats were not interested in hearing what Patricia Smith, the mother of slain information management officer Sean Smith, and Charles Woods, the father of former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, had to say.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/09/19/democrats-excuse-themselves-from-house-hearing-before-family-members-of-benghazi-heroes-testify/

burrata on September 19, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Todd: It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging

Oh brother.

When Bush was President all they did was hammer against his messaging. When Obama became President (largely because the media refused to do their jobs) they have covered his skinny butt from one scandal to the next whilst heavily promoting the WH messaging. To say that now, all of the sudden, they shouldn’t do it is laughable at best. They’ve been doing it for going on 5 years now.

HotAirian on September 19, 2013 at 6:38 PM

Todd: It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging

Which is why it is “fortunate” F. Chuck is a presstitute organ and not a member of the media. That way, he can parrot Rat WH messaging with a clear conscience (that is, if he had one).

Steve Eggleston on September 19, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Todd: It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging

They’ve been doing it for going on 5 years now.
HotAirian on September 19, 2013 at 6:38 PM

A lot longer than that. It was the media’s sycophantic coverage of Bill Clinton’s first run that finally woke me up to the political dynamics in this country.

Cleombrotus on September 19, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Todd: It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging

Sooooo, they’re just highly motivated volunteers, then?

There Goes the Neighborhood on September 19, 2013 at 6:52 PM

“I said it was not job of media to sell WH’s health care message, it is WH’s job”

Chuck knows that of course it’s his job to sell administration policies and views! He’s been doing it solidly for five years too, so I’m not sure why all of a sudden he’s trying to lay down his burden like this. Don’t worry though Democrats, I’m sure he isn’t serious!

MTF on September 19, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Obamacare is unsustainable…How is that incorrect Gov. Rendell?

Off topic..is John Kerry blind in his left eye? There is something wrong with his left eye. Maybe a result of his hockey accident a year or 2 ago?

bopbottle on September 19, 2013 at 7:15 PM

But you do it anyway..don’t cha Mr. Todd.

Another member of the Obama Kneepad Club.

KirknBurker on September 19, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell: “If you took ten people from different parts of the country who say they’re against the bill, and sat them down, I’d love to have ten minutes with them and say, “tell me why you’re against the bill.” And if they told you anything, it would be stuff that’s incorrect.”

.
I can guarantee that if Rendell said “Tell me…” he would interrupt after 10 seconds and take the next nine minutes and 50 seconds to tell more lies about Øbamacare. The biggest truth about Ø-care he could not shake would be the gaffe Reid exposed when he said that PPACA was just the beginning and that the ultimate objective was single payer national insurance and all the autocratic government control that comes from dominating one sixth of the GDP. Then he can explain all the waivers and the abysmally corrupt Congressional Special Exemption.
.
Neither of those are Republican Lies; those examples are FACTS.

ExpressoBold on September 19, 2013 at 8:20 PM

Todd: It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging

True. Republicans like McCain can handle that task quite ably I assure you.

Dr. ZhivBlago on September 19, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Little Red Lyin, Press Release President.

Off topic..is John Kerry blind in his left eye? There is something wrong with his left eye. Maybe a result of his hockey accident a year or 2 ago?

bopbottle on September 19, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Stroke, not that any-Won will admit it.

RushBaby on September 19, 2013 at 8:29 PM

“It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging”

At the NYT, the perceived wisdom IS that it is the job of the WH to carry the message of the Editorial Board of The Times, because they are the only ones who truly know how to run the country.

Another Drew on September 19, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Pick me! Pick me! Make me one of the ten, sit me down, and ask me why I oppose Obamacare. I say:

1) Because it passed congress without a single Republican vote, and I feel that a measure of this importance should have bipartisan support.

2) Because in order to show a neutral cost, long since busted by already increased expenditures, it relied upon collections for ten years to fund only seven; year-to-year the program is NOT budget neutral, and in fact it only adds to our deficit.

3) Because Obamacare was sold under false pretenses. Not only the “budget neutral” clause that I object to in point 2, but also “if you like your doctor or your plan you can keep them” while hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Americans are learning that they cannot keep their doctors or plans; OR, that the Mandate was repeatedly sold as a “Penalty” and explicitly denied to be a Tax, whereas the Supreme Court ruled that it was only allowed under the Constitution if it WAS a Tax.

So… What part if that is “incorrect”???

JohnD13 on September 19, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Nice headline, Ed. It seems to be giving the impression that this is what Todd actually said, or believes. On the contrary, there are few living members of the left wing media who have been more compliant with DNC marching orders or more submissive in figuratively presenting his as@ to Obama for abuse.

Chuck Todd is one click shy of an activist media Democrat. Your toleration of scum like Todd is appalling.

Jaibones on September 19, 2013 at 10:35 PM

Am I the only one who thinks Todd sounds resentful that somehow, even though 99% of the media outlets are anti-Republican, the Republicans were able to educate the public about the fallacy of Obamacare?

OxyCon on September 20, 2013 at 1:42 AM

OxyCon on September 20, 2013 at 1:42 AM

The public isn’t completely passive here: they can see what is happening to jobs and their healthcare premiums. Just as they can see the fallacy of global warming.

The problem might just be the administration’s conflict with reality rather than their poor marketing.

virgo on September 20, 2013 at 3:00 AM

It may not be their job, but they do it so well.

Gunlock Bill on September 20, 2013 at 8:39 AM

Little Red Lyin, Press Release President.

Off topic..is John Kerry blind in his left eye? There is something wrong with his left eye. Maybe a result of his hockey accident a year or 2 ago?

bopbottle on September 19, 2013 at 7:15 PM
Stroke, not that any-Won will admit it.

RushBaby on September 19, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Can you have a stroke if you are already brain dead?

Gunlock Bill on September 20, 2013 at 8:42 AM

Todd: It’s not the job of the media to carry WH messaging

It’s not their job, but they do it out of the goodness of their heart.

Err, if they aren’t carrying water for the WH and dems, then explain this one to me.

Media: Republicans are evil and want to cut food stamps for millions of poor people who are in desperate need.
Media: The economy is doing great and rebounding, people are finding employment.
Squaring the circle: If the economy is doing better, why are more people on food stamps? Either the economy is doing better and people can provide for themselves, or the economy isn’t better and the continued expansion of food stamps is needed to stave off poverty. You can’t have it both ways, unless the media is carrying water for the WH/Dems.

weaselyone on September 20, 2013 at 9:47 AM

The media has a duty to referee on messaging, but not to carry water for the government

No.

This is not the media’s job and it never was.

The media’s job is to push a statist government into power and protect the government at all costs. At least that is how they see it.

The media is the enemy.

GardenGnome on September 20, 2013 at 9:49 AM