American Media Continually Underestimates Obama.

Nov 18

The autumn of 2013 hasn’t been a good one for US President Barack Obama, largely because of the troublesome rollout of his signature health care plan.

Obama’s poll numbers tumbled, dropping in some cases to under 40 per cent, prompting many in the American punditry to once again disaster for the remainder of his presidency.

Those low job approval number would indeed be disastrous for Obama if this were the autumn of 2012 and he was running for reelection.

But he’s not. Obama is in his second and final term. Low job approval numbers one year into his second term have no impact upon the outcome of his presidency. As for Obamacare, despite its shaky rollout, it’s the law of the land, it cannot be repealed as long as he’s in office, and any successor who attempts to repeal it will be committing political suicide. No matter what happens to Obama over the remainder of his second term, his legacy of Obamacare is safe.

The American media continually underestimates President Obama.

The American media continually underestimates President Obama.

So why is the American media seizing predicting disaster for Obama’s presidency? Probably because, in their minds, the Obama adminstration is long overdue for a real scandal like those which bedevilled a number of his predecessors.

The media thought they had juicy scandals early in the year regarding the Benghazi embassy attack in 2012, the IRS supposedly targeting right-wing political groups, and the NSA eavesdropping on everyone. They thought his thwarted attempt at military intervention in Syria in August, or the recent shutdown of the federal government by far right loons in the Republican congress, doomed his legacy.

None of these blossomed into scandal as hoped by the press and his political opponents. So, when the Obamacare rollout was plagued by computer glitches and complaints that some folks were losing their health care plans, the hyperventilating media looked at his dropping job approval numbers and cried, “Scandal”.

Except it’s not. It’s certainly not Obama’s “Katrina”, as some suggested, since the handling of that disaster by Obama’s predecessor contributed to thousands of deaths. No one’s dying because of Obamacare rollout problems.

This isn’t even comparable to the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Whitewater or the Lewinsky affair, but many in the American media are sure wishing it would be.

When Obama’s presidency is reviewed decades from now by historians, what should stand out is how the American media underestimated him, and how often.

From his long fight to implement Obamacare, along with the implementation of an economic stimulus bill early in the first term, through the bailout of the auto industry, through the 2010 BP oil well explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico, through his battles with the Republicans over the debt ceiling and tax increases, through his run for reelection, and of course those aforementioned scandals-which-weren’t, most of the American media have written Obama off, projecting the end of his presidency at every turn.

Yet each time, Obama “defies” the odds, which really weren’t that difficult to defy, given that most of his opponents were, and still are, idiotic far-right dingbats with no real solutions to America’s problems.

The hyperventilation over the Obamacare rollout will in time fade away, just like with every other supposed “scandal” real and imagined. Something else will come up, and the same silly predictions of doom for the Obama presidency will ramp up again.

The American media soiled itself during the first term of George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency by acting as cheerleaders in his run-up to, and execution of, the Iraq War. In its attempts to be more balanced in their coverage of Obama, however, they’ve swung too far the other way, desperately seeking scandal when, as Obama once said, there is no “there” there.

It’s easy to mock how the American media has covered Obama. Indeed, it would be funny, if it also wasn’t yet another sign of the decline of quality journalism in the United States. Where “fair and balanced” is a catchphrase for entertainment masquerading as real news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>