When the Washington Post writes stories like this (“An Imperiled Agenda: Anger Over Firm Depletes Obama’s Political Capital”), coming on the heels of them publishing a clearly fraudulent column by George Will, a survey of Washington opinion spanning the right to far-right, and the ongoing advocacy on their part in favor of the Iraq War, I wonder if they too deserve the fate of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Rocky Mountain News. Let’s not kid ourselves, it ain’t like the Washington Post is thriving.
President Obama’s apparent inability to block executive bonuses at insurance giant AIG has dealt a sharp blow to his young administration and is threatening to derail both public and congressional support for his ambitious political agenda.
Now, this story is a great example of DC establishment journalism and why the mainstream press is regularly disbelieved or taken with a grain of salt, especially by the left. Nowhere, not a single place, in the entire article does the venerable Washington Post cite any data quantifying what they characterize as a “blow” to President Obama. In fact, the entire enterprise sounds as if it could be sketched from a Boehner-Cantor-Limbaugh cocktail party. Nowhere, not a single time, does the article even quote someone in the Democratic or Republican parties taking President Obama to task over the AIG issue (at best it cites Sen. Dodd saying that the entire enterprise is bad, something the President made clear he agreed with). Nor are any independent voices or watchdogs cited. Instead, the article simply states that the President’s agenda is threatened by derailment. It just asserts this, as easily as it could have asserted that the Lincoln Memorial was constructed of Jello.
It just… says.
The entire article is 897 words, but it gives a paltry 37 to the President’s clear and direct statements addressing the issue at hand. And the Post commits this act of cowardice in the hinterlands of paragraph 5.
Now, at the same time The Washington Post wrote this story sans any actual evidence to back up the central assertion of the story comes some data in the form of polls.
From Pew, where the President dropped a few points in overall approval to 59% (Oh by the way, this is supposed to also be catastrophic according to the right. Yes, the same members of the right who would have danced in the streets if Bush had cracked 30% for the last three years of his presidency.) comes this on the economy:
Obama generally receives favorable marks for doing as much as he can to try to fix the economy. Six-in-ten express this view, which is substantially greater than the percentages saying that about George W. Bush in January 2002 (48%) or George H.W. Bush a decade earlier (21% in March 1992). For the most part, the public says that Obama’s economic policies have had no effect on the economic situation so far (64%), with much smaller proportions saying his policies have made economic conditions worse (15%) or better (14%).
Also in this poll congressional Republicans dropped to a 28% approval, compared to a 47% approval for their Democratic counterparts. This did not make A1 of the Post like the story without data did.
CNN’s poll also came out yesterday.
Obama’s job approval rating stands at 64 percent in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Monday. That rating is down 3 percentage points from mid-February.
When asked about the economy, 59 percent of respondents approve of how Obama’s performing, with 40 percent disapproving.
A lot of people, especially on the left, have done some hand-wringing about the state of newspapers now that so many of them are gasping for air and dying. While I feel badly for the people affected, stories like this make it hard to give a damn about an industry so unconcerned about it’s core mission: Collecting and investigating information and presenting it to the public. The news media, and newspapers in particular have given up on this core mission.
I’ve got nothing against an entertaining and lively newspaper, and even when my guy is the subject I’d rather they get to the heart of a matter if the alternative is dreck like this that is simply hyperbole, garment-rending, and whining in search of a Drudge link or a few hours of hashing out on Fox News.
The honeymoon is over. But not for President Obama. It’s between the mainstream media and the audience whose intelligence it abuses with alarming frequency.