Perhaps the second term of the Obama presidency will wind up being an era of bipartisan unity after all. One hopeful sign comes with a recent interview done by The New Republic with the President, in which he identifies an area where the POTUS and his Republican opponents clearly seem to agree. The media is just too darned biased.
“One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates,” he tells editor Frank Foer and owner and publisher Chris Hughes. “If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.”
But it’s not just Fox or Rush who are to blame. Nearly as culpable are those who ostensibly provide both sides of the debate, because… well, you know:
The president also faulted nonpartisan media outlets for their adherence to “he said, she said” journalism, which places equal blame on Democrats and Republicans when, according to the president, Republicans should bear more blame.
“[T]hat’s one of the biggest problems we’ve got in how folks report about Washington right now, because I think journalists rightly value the appearance of impartiality and objectivity,” Obama told Foer and Hughes. “And so the default position for reporting is to say, ‘A plague on both their houses.’ On almost every issue, it’s, ‘Well, Democrats and Republicans can’t agree’—as opposed to looking at why is it that they can’t agree. Who exactly is preventing us from agreeing?”
See? That’s the problem with the media! You can’t just go around reporting on the views of both parties, or even blaming one party more than the other. In order for media coverage of politics and governments to truly be fair, they need to point out that Barack Obama is always right, the Republicans are always wrong, and the Democrats would be getting so much more done if the GOP would only stop trying to block their agenda. Is that so much to ask?
Look, the national media has a lot of problems, and there’s no doubt about it. And the problems are not found exclusively at MSNBC or Fox. Print media has essentially died, no longer commanding the resources to do the kind of reporting – particularly on local stories – which they once took charge of. Television news seems all too often to have become jealous of the success of the Real Housewives franchise and begun emulating them wherever possible. But if the President wants to call them out for bias, he’s going to have to do a bit more credible job than that.
For full disclosure, it should be noted that the interview above was conducted, in part, by Chris Hughes, who is listed as “an Obama donor who worked on the 2008 campaign,” and who bought The New Republic last year and now runs it. So… balance.