Archive for November 10, 2010
President Obama Deserves Better Than 60 Minutes Interview
by Trish Nelson
In yet another example of how the media selects a narrative and sticks with it, no matter what, let's review what took place during President Obama's 60 Minutes interview Sunday night.
Throughout the interview, Steve Kroft generally adhered to standard-fare media narratives about what a disappointment the President has been, and how he has failed to promote the Democratic message, which for the most part, Obama doesn't spend a lot of time quibbling with, other than he does point out his accomplishments and corrects Steve on the point that the midterm election was not a referendum on him, but a referendum on the state of the economy. He also reminds Steve about how most of the jobs were lost before he got in office, and during his first 3 months of office, before his economic policies had a chance to work. On message so far.
When the interview topic turned to taxes, it seemed that President Obama couldn't get two words out without Steve interjecting, “but Republicans say…but Republicans say” as if he was on a timer. Finally, the president had to put his hand up to stop him, and said, “I know what Republicans say…” then went on to lay out the differences between him and them, again displaying discipline in staying on message.
Steve continues to question Obama about his “failure” to get the Democratic message out. Obama does a little mea culpa where he says, as he always does, which is appropriate for a president to say, GWB notwithstanding, that he takes personal responsibility for that. The president went on to say that his administration was focused on getting things done and times were rather urgent, so they may have let the campaigning lapse a bit. Perfectly understandable.
Then Steve did something incredibly tacky, in my view. As if he was taking his cue from Stewart and Colbert, who he may have forgotten are satirists, not journalists, he trots out a little video clip of a series of Obama appearances on popular TV shows, like The Daily Show, The View, and other programs. Seemingly intended to portray the president in a demeaning manner, Steve, the upstanding, objective professional journalist, shares that “some” think this behavior trivializes the presidency.
And this is the part of the interview that I have not seen reported or repeated or talked about anywhere, on any program, on any website or on any video, nor have I heard anyone mention what follows on any radio talk show, progressive or otherwise. In my view, this was the single most striking statement the president made during the entire interview. The President said,
So if the president's words of leadership and inspiration to the nation are not considered newsworthy, and too many Americans are getting their information almost entirely from the right wing fools and corporatists, how do people make intelligent decisions when voting? Enter the 2010 midterm elections.
The most disturbing part of all of this is that the media not only wastes the publicly owned airwaves on garbage, but they act utterly baffled and clueless, like they have no idea why the president can't be heard above the din that they themselves are creating. Then, incredibly, President Obama gets asked if he's trivializing the presidency after they themselves have done so and continue to do so explicitly. (Howard Dean scream).
But the president did say something else on the “messaging failure” issue that causes me to hope that perhaps we can look forward to improvements in this area, at least on Obama's part.
We'll have to leave it there for now.