Presidential historians often say that unfriendly news coverage typically comes with the territory for a second-term president. Indeed, President Obama has been negotiating an unfamiliar, unfriendly media landscape in recent days, one that has sprouted negative reviews of his leadership, and not necessarily from his conservative critics.
“The decline and fall of Barack Obama: A presidency that began with such high expectations is confirming America’s decline as a world power,” declares a recent Times of London op-ed, while a headline at The Atlantic notes, “Obama says he’s not worried about style — but he should be.”
“What’s wrong with Obama?” asks Politico in a lengthy examination of the president’s mind, energy, staffing challenges, philosophy and salesmanship, or lack thereof.
The phenomenon of Mr. Obama’s lousy press, meanwhile, continues to be examined and analyzed by those amazed that the man of hope and change is getting some pushback. Why, it’s gone on for, maybe, a whole month.
There is some reality to consider. Mr. Obama has had an extraordinarily long honeymoon with most journalists. Lest we forget, the news media were waiting to ambush Mr. Obama’s predecessor from Day One. The press did not wait until his second term to attack President George W. Bush.
“The networks have had a field day since Inauguration Day attacking America’s freshman president from the left. They’ve spun his policy proposals beyond the point of recognition, then cherry-picked liberal experts to excoriate them,” reported Rich Noyes, an analyst for the Media Research Center who pored over the poor coverage, even granting ABC News an “F” grade for its contributions. The date of his report: April 26, 2001.
FOR THE LEXICON
— A handy new term from Powerline.com analyst Paul Mirengoff. He explains: “Congressional Republicans are moving toward a showdown with President Obama over defunding Obamacare. The House is poised to pass a continuing resolution that funds government operations beyond September, but does not include Obamacare. The Senate will pass a continuing resolution that funds Obamacare. After that, it’s a question of who blinks first, and whether the blink will occur before or after a government shutdown.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to inspire both press and politicians to get creative. Consider that on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney conjured up the term “Putin envy” after House Speaker John A. Boehner released a parody video declaring that President Obama was more willing to negotiate with Mr. Putin than with the U.S. Congress.
By close of business Thursday, the phrase appeared in 1,029 press accounts, according to an informal Google News search.
STILL DON’T TRUST THE PRESS
It is no new phenomenon: The public distrusts the press. Gallup numbers find that 55 percent of Americans have little or no confidence in the accuracy of the news media; that’s lousy, but not as lousy as 2012, when the figure was 60 percent.
There’s a partisan divide, of course: 60 percent of Democrats say they actually trust the press, compared with a third of Republicans.