The liberal columnist Dana Milbank, who writes for The Washington Post, blamed President Barack Obama for Obama’s poor debate performance against Mitt Romney. Milbank cited the lack of solo press conferences Obama has held along with the “yes men” that surrounding the President. But he forgot to mention that his cohorts in the mainstream press have also been “yes men” and “lapdogs” throughout Obama’s first term in office and deserve an equal amount of blame as Obama.
Milbank wrote “Obama received a valuable reminder in his drubbing at Wednesday night’s debate: He is a president, not a king.”
What Milbank fails to note, is the pro-Obama mainstream media has been complicit in treating Obama like a king, making him feel even more entitled to think of himself as one. On the budget, debt, Libya, Obama’s failed campaign promises, scandals such as Fast and Furious, crony capitalism boondoggles like Solyndra, and a host of other issues, the mainstream press given Obama a pass, refusing to demand press conferences and help put public pressure on the Obama administration to hold more solo press conferences.
Towson University political scientist Martha Kumar keeps a running tally of Obama’s media appearances and told Milbank Obama has had “19 solo news conferences in the White House as of Sept. 30. That compares to 26 for Ronald Reagan at the same point in his presidency, 59 for George H.W. Bush, and 31 for Bill Clinton.”
“But Obama has only himself to blame, because he set himself up for Wednesday’s emperor-has-no-clothes moment,” Milbank writes. “For the past four years, he has worked assiduously to avoid being questioned, maintaining a regal detachment from the media and other sources of dissent and skeptical inquiry.
Milbank notes “Obama is surrounded by a large number of yes men who aren’t likely to get in his face” and this “insularity led directly to the Denver debacle.”
“Obama was out of practice and unprepared to be challenged. The White House had supposed that Obama’s forays into social media — town hall meetings with YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the like — would replace traditional presidential communication. By relying on such venues, Obama’s argument skills atrophied, and he was ill-equipped to engage in old-fashioned give and take.
Milbank writes Obama “hasn’t held a full-fledged news conference at the White House since March” and “in lieu of taking hard questions, Obama has opted for gauzy, soft-focus interviews” with “Entertainment Tonight” and radio hosts like the “Pimp With The Limp.”
“Tough questions are rare in one-on-one interviews, because Obama has more control over the topic — and the interviewer wants to be invited back,” Milbank wrote, noting Obama’s body language during the debate “conveyed a sense that he felt it beneath him to be sharing a stage with Romney.”
The mainstream media is notably upset and perturbed Romney shellacked Obama during their first debate, but the irony is that the mainstream media’s coddling of Obama set Obama up for failure when Romney held Obama to account — perhaps for the first time during Obama’s four years in office — for his failed policies and record.