The Right Politics

Last Friday, President Barack Obama stood before the press corps and cameras to speak about the nation’s economy. During the highly-promoted event, the president spoke in typical Obama-speak. He started out by speaking slowly and extremely deliberately, word-by-word. As time passed during his appearance – as per usual – he increased his wpm (words per minute) after getting comfortable. It was during the Friday press event that Obama uttered the now infamous words “the private sector is doing just fine.” When those words passed his lips, the nation came to a halt.

Liberals scratched their heads and said, “Huh?” Conservatives and independents screeched, “What?” Business people in the private sector were likely contemplating a call 911 for assistance. Another misspeak by the president – or any politician – however, is not what made Friday a historic day in the United States. Instead, it was the media’s reaction to the latest Obama blunder.

Unprecedented in the United States, President Barack Obama made a major gaffe and the media – the nation’s liberal media – didn’t give him a pass on it. More than that, Obama’s misspeak was aired via virtually every news media outlet in the nation. No omissions of the story could be found while scanning the news stations. Also, as the comment was about the economy, the message went globally as well.

Anyone who isn’t aware of how infrequently the media communicates anything negative about President Obama obviously does not listen to the mainstream media’s presentation of the news very often. The jury is still out as to why Obama is treated so well by the media, but it is a great relation for Obama – or any politician – to have with those who deliver the news to the masses.

There are those who assumed he was being given a decent break because he was new at the political game in Washington, D.C. Others say that since Obama is the first African-American president, the media is cautious and probably too overly-sensitive about criticizing him because they fear being called racist by the public-at-large and, in particular, the Democrats. Whatever the reason, the typical three-month honeymoon that a new president has with the media is now in its unprecedented forty-first month with Obama. Or, at least, it was until last Friday.

The reaction was – for lack of a better term – fast and furious. While comments were coming in from all over, the media chose to concentrate on the Republican heavyweights’ take on the comment about the private sector doing fine. The media turned to the GOP’s presidential-candidate-to-be Mitt Romney and got what they had hoped for. Unlike some past opportunities to trounce Obama, Romney wasn’t timid in the least.

While campaigning in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Friday, Romney went after Obama by saying: “For the President of the United States to stand up and say, ‘the private sector is doing fine,’ is going to go down in history as an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a president who is out of touch.”

Many stayed tuned throughout the afternoon to hear what kind of spin the Democrats and the media would try to put on Obama’s quote. For the most part, however, spin didn’t follow. Instead, Obama was quicker than he usually is to back-step on something that blows up in his face. The response was basically: aw shucks, guys, you know I didn’t mean it that way.

The best result from Obama’s comment from last Friday is that the press appears to have finally checked out of honeymoon suite – for the weekend anyway.

About Scott Paulson

Scott Paulson writes political commentary for and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.



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