Overachiever-in-Chief: Is There an Issue the President Won't Weigh in On? Obama Juggles Policy With Sports Lobbying
And believe it or not, the article is actually worse than the headline. The entire he's-doing-too-much! premise is built around the fact that Obama is trying to help bring the 2018 or 2022 World Cup soccer championship to the United States, and Obama is also trying to help bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. In other words, he's been involved in utterly routine bouts of outreach by a POTUS, but ABC frets that it's just too much for Obama to "juggle."
Specifically, Obama recently hosted Joseph Blatter, the head of FIFA, soccer's international governing body. at the White House for a brief meeting. And in the spring Obama sent a letter to FIFA.
And oh yeah, FIFA's Blatter also sits on International Olympic Committee, so ABC assumes that Obama pitched Blatter about having the Olympics in Chicago.
That's it. That's all ABC News points to as proof of an overextended Obama. Yet from those mundane details, ABC gets all the-sky-is-falling [emphasis added]:
From soccer to the Olympics to even the college football championship system, Obama certainly has been outspoken on sports issues. But is the president risking overexposure by weighing in on so much outside the political arena?
UPDATED: Love this CF reader comment:
We have one cable news outlet that's now showing a Beer Summit Countdown Clock on the screen.
And the news media have the nerve to complain it's Obama's fault that he might be overexposed???????
Newsbusters has practically trademarked this whine over the years: Newsrooms are conservative-free work zones and Republicans are actively excluded. I've never bought that claim because I've never once seen or heard a legitimate tale of a journalist who was fired or couldn't get hired simply because they weren't liberal. (Fact: Editors don't care!)
And I've also suggested that if surveys show that newsrooms lean a little left that's because liberals like being journalists and conservatives like to make a decent living. And that of course, if conservatives coming out of college want to earn a dreadful income with an entry level job in a dying news industry, they're welcomed to do so. It's just that not many seem interested in those job prospects, which means there aren't many conservatives to hire, which then allows Brent Bozell to manufacture the claim that conservatives get excluded.
But let's take a look at Politico reporter Josh Kraushaar, who caught my attention this week because he had a byline on a particularly awful piece about (surprise!) the GOP's mighty resurgence. This is the same Beltway chestnut that's been written over over for the last several years. (Glenn Greenwald walks us through the greatest hits.)
The Politico piece was just Republican spin, pure and simple because (all together now) Politico is really just a GOP bulletin board. But what's interesting is that based on his previous blogging, Josh Kraushaar clearly has a partisan GOP streak. He was a Iraq War cheerleader, quite critical of peace activists, and lambasted liberal professors. He's a big fan of Power Line, InstaPundit, and Little Green Footballs. And during a brief foray into movie reviewing, he once wrote, "Community, family values, religion, strong work ethic, love of America: what more could a red meat conservative ask for in a movie?"
But now he's a news reporter for Politico and this week wrote an article that was nearly indistinguishable from an RNC press release. (Headline: "Backlash: Democratic dangers mount.") Coincidence? Perhaps. But unlike conservative media critics, I'm not in the habit of reading minds or assigning blanket motivations so I'm not going to cast aspirations. What I do think is telling though, is how Kraushaar seems to obliterate the right-wing whine about how conservatives are locked out of newsrooms for purely political reasons. In truth, and based on his previous blogging, Kraushaar couldn't be more far-right if he tried, yet he's been hired as a reporter at an influential political publication.
Which is weird, because I thought conservatives couldn't find jobs in the liberal media.
From a July 29 email sent from the Our Country Deserves Better PAC:
From the July 30 edition of Fox News' Fox and Friends:
Another day, 2,200 more words from the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz -- and still none about CNN president Jonathan Klein's embrace of Lou Dobbs Birther conspiracy theories. None about CNN (where Kurtz also works) at all, actually.
I have a new column up today about Howard Kurtz' glaring conflict of interest -- far worse than the conflicts he frequently hits other reporters for. Here's a taste:
Clearly, for journalists ... television is the key to big-bucks success. ... The public has a right to expect that those who pontificate for a living are not in financial cahoots with the industries and lobbies they analyze on the air. Too many reporters and pundits simply have a blind spot on this issue. They have been seduced by the affluence and adulation that comes with television success. They are engaging in drive-by journalism, rushing from television studio to lecture hall with their palms outstretched. ... The talk show culture has made them rich but, in a very real sense, left them bankrupt.
Oh. Wait. No, I'm sorry -- that's from Howard Kurtz's 1996 book Hot Air. See how Kurtz has become what he once denounced here.
On Wednesday, MSNBC's Todd attacked Glenn Beck for calling Obama a racist. Todd then used that incident as a jumping-off point to vent about what else was wrong with the press. In the process though, he seemed to take a gratuitously cheap shot at Huffington and her ground-breaking site, as well as compare it to the standard-less nonsense that seeps out of Fox News [emphasis added]:
It's getting nuts that the folks who are creating the perception of an ideological/polarized media world are people who have never really spent their lives being journalists. Whether it's former political consultants-turned-TV execs or former radio DJs, or former California socialites, the folks helping to accelerate the public's perception of the media off a cliff made their livings trying to do other things.
To me, the first and third references are clearly to Roger Ailes and Arianna Huffington. (Politico agreed.) In the eyes of Beltway insider Todd, they're both equally responsible for tarnishing the good work of journalists. Really? The Huffington Post is driving the public perception of the media off the cliff? How? In what way? I suspect there are millions of HP readers who would say the opposite; that the site has restored their faith in journalism and what can be accomplished when outsiders are empowered.
To me, it seems Todd is practicing the age-old Beltway game of blaming the right and left even though the left is pretty much blameless. I mean, why would Todd drag Huffington into a discussion about the rancid behavior of Fox News' Glenn Beck? There's zero connection. But it seems Todd wasn't comfortable simply writing a post that knocked Fox News (liberal bias!!), so he threw in a reference to Huffington in order to cover his butt.
Meanwhile, did Todd really suggest Huffington wasn't a journalist? She's a big girl and can defend herself, but honestly, just look at her resume. Prior to launching HP, she was an award-winning author/biographer and worked as a nationally syndicated columnist.
Bottom line: The next time somebody on Fox News says something offensive and idiotic and hateful, Todd ought to just say so, and not play the I-blame-both-side game.
In a July 29 opinion piece posted on FoxNews.com, Tommy De Seno writes that "since no one has shown any proof [Obama] was born in Kenya or elsewhere, it's OK to conclude he was born in Hawaii" but the "Birther movement is Obama's fault for not releasing the records. I hope the Birthers continue to bite his ankles until he releases the records. He deserves nothing less."
De Seno casts doubt on the birth certificate Obama posted online and speculates on Obama being born in Kenya:
Two birth announcements from Hawaiian local papers show Obama's birth. The Birthers have a couple of good arguments about them. First, Hawaii is where Obama's grandparents lived and it's not unusual for grandparents to announce a birth to their friends, even if the grandson lives elsewhere. Also, if Obama's parents lived in Hawaii then moved to Kenya when they birthed him, it wouldn't be unusual to announce the birth in the old neighborhood for friends to see.
The newspaper announcements cut against the Birthers, but they are hearsay documents and don't answer the citizen question any more than his grammar school records prove he is a Muslim. The original Birth Certificate will end it all.
PolitiFact.com of speculation about the legitimacy of Obama's birth notices:
But here's the thing. Newspaper officials he checked with confirmed those notices came from the state Department of Health.
"That's not the kind of stuff a family member calls in and says, 'Hey, can you put this in?'" [Honolulu Advertiser reporter Will] Hoover explained.
Take a second and think about that. In order to phony those notices up, it would have required the complicity of the state Health Department and two independent newspapers - on the off chance this unnamed child might want to one day be president of the United States.
De Seno's piece was promoted by The Fox Nation:
The New York Times' write-up of its new poll paints a dire picture for health care reform:
Poll Shows Obama's Clout on Health Care Is Eroding
By ADAM NAGOURNEY and MEGAN THEE-BRENAN
President Obama's ability to shape the debate on health care appears to be eroding as opponents aggressively portray the effort as a government takeover that could limit Americans' ability to chose their doctors and course of treatment, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
Americans are concerned that overhauling the health care system would reduce the quality of their care, increase their out-of-pocket health costs and tax bills and limit their options in choosing doctors, treatments and tests, the poll found. The percentage who describe health care costs as a serious threat to the American economy - a central argument made by Mr. Obama - has dropped over the past month.
Uh-oh! Sounds bad, doesn't it? But look how easy it is to write that article differently, based on the same poll (PDF link):
Poll Shows Strong Support for Reform; Obama More Trusted Than GOP
By BIZARRO ADAM NAGOURNEY AND BIZARRO MEGAN THEE-BRENAN
President Obama continues to enjoy significant advantage over his Republican counterparts when it comes to who the public trusts to reform health care, and the American people continue to overwhelmingly favor sweeping reform, even in the face of efforts by opponents to negatively define Mr. Obama's proposals, according to the latest New York Times/CBS poll.
The poll found that fully 90 percent of Americans think it is necessary to make "fundamental changes" or "completely rebuild" the health care system. President Obama enjoys a 29-point advantage over congressional Republicans on the question of who has better ideas to reform the system. The percentage of people who think the health care system needs to be fixed now as part of fixing the overall economy has increased in recent weeks, and the percentage who think the US cannot afford to fix health care now has decreased.
Seventy-six percent of Americans consider the rising cost of health care a threat to the nation's economy. Sixty-six percent support the "government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan - something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get - that would compete with private health insurance plans?" Sixty-five percent support tax increases on "Americans with high incomes" in order to pay for reform.
Eighty percent of Americans are concerned that if the government does not create a system for providing health care for all Americans, the number of uninsured people will increase. Sixty-six percent are concerned that absent such reform, they personally might be without coverage at some point. Seventy-five percent worry that absent such reform, the cost of their own health care will go up.
Keep that in mind when you see cable news freak out over the Times article tomorrow: The very same poll contains a ton of data that should be encouraging for those who favor significant reform.
UPDATE: Also worth noting: Much of the public skepticism the real New York Times article detailed is based on misconceptions -- like the concern that reform would "limit ... options in choosing doctors." Well, it wouldn't. So who cares if people think it might? If such reform is enacted, they'll pretty quickly see that they can still go to their doctor, and that concern will dissipate.
Fox Nation's front-page headline "Why Don't Dems Want Americans to See This Chart?" parrots House Minority Leader John Boehner's floor remarks -- a video of which Fox Nation provides -- during which he said, "Democrats in Congress don't want the American people to see this chart."