President Obama has thrown down on the national media, which he said aren’t doing their job properly.
The current political climate, the president said, is due partly because the media haven’t challenged presidential candidates’ falsehoods, outrageousness and manipulation.
Obama spoke to a media gathering and said the rest of the world is dumbfounded at what’s happening to the “crazy politics” that has infected the United States.
Here’s part of what the president said: “A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone. It’s to probe and to question and to dig deeper and to demand more. The electorate would be better served if that happened. It would be better served if billions of dollars in free media came with serious accountability, especially when politicians issue unworkable plans or make promises they cannot keep.”
Got it, Mr. President.
But here’s the catch. The media are considered part of what’s ticking off much of the electorate.
The media have sought to hold the candidates “accountable,” as you suggest. They have challenge absurd assertions by a number of the candidates, only to be outshouted by the angry legions of voters who continue to stand by their candidates’ original absurd assertion.
As someone who’s still associated with the media, I happen to believe the president is correct to assert that the media need to do better. We always can do more to provide context and to check all the facts before running with them.
It’s the suggestion, though, that greater media scrutiny — in this particular climate — is going to flip the switch on in voters’ minds and make them see the light, the truth and the way.
Instead, they’re increasingly likely these days to “double down” on what the candidate says and then blast the media for “lying” about their guy’s message.
I believe we are in a classic “Catch-22” situation.
Thanks anyway for the advice, Mr. President.