The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin rounds up some media criticism Obama’s facing over the politics he’s so obviously playing in the face of the oncoming fiscal cliff. Rubin’s correct about this:
Obama’s conduct so far bespeaks of a man still determined to crush rather than bargain with his opponents. It suggests a man who still has only one true skill, campaigning. And it further suggests he didn’t fully understand that the public chose divided government so that neither side would get its way entirely.
In my opinion, though, she’s wrong about this:
President Obama got a wake-up call this morning from an unexpected source — the mainstream media. In multiple news and editorial pieces, the press took the president and the Democrats to task for intransigence and irresponsibility in the fiscal cliff negotiations.
There’s absolutely no wake up call coming from the mainstream media. All the Washington Post and USA Today (her two examples) are doing with these editorials is posturing.
We’re going to see a lot of this in Obama’s second term; token gestures of media criticism directed at the president. This allows the media to appear objective without in any way harming the president or his agenda. We’ve seen the same from WaPo’s Dana Milbank and the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd with their criticism of Susan Rice.
What matters is The Narrative and right now The Narrative is all about how Republicans will be to blame unless and until they repudiate Grover Norquist and agree to raise taxes on the wealthy. Thanks to the media, right now Obama’s in a no-lose situation. Either Republicans commit suicide with their base and raise taxes or the public at large blames them for going over the cliff.
This is all the media’s doing. And because these left-wing news outlets know The Narrative has everything under control, they’re comfortable running token editorials that have no impact whatsoever on what’s happening but do give them cover from those of us who criticize their biases.
A wake up call would be a situation where The Narrative alerted Obama to the fact that there’s a political price to pay for his behavior. What we’re seeing right now is the exact opposite.
Obama knows it and so does the media.
It’s all a game, a con, a hustle, a ruse…