Thursday, May 30, 2013

Media in trouble - blame Obama

It's obvious that with the advent of the internet as well as other technologies, both the printed press and television news are struggling to find a fiscal model that works. Surely everyone knows that it won't be long before the paper media is dead. And finding a way to make money off of internet publications via advertising and subscriptions has proven to be a challenge.

The major networks still run evening news shows, but I'm not sure anyone is watching. And their morning installments are more gossip tabloids than anything resembling real news.

Cable networks are struggling too. Fox seems to have found a stable "geezer crowd" that is loyal. But its hard to imagine how they continue that business model into the future. And we're learning that CNN and MSNBC are struggling to find their footing recently.

In often hair-brained attempts to deal with all that, the media has faltered with everything from exploitative reporting following the Boston marathon bombing to the hysteria of being taken in by the lies of Jonathan Karl and ABC News.

And yet it is in the midst of all this that so many in the Washington D.C. media think its wise to go into all-out battle mode with President Obama and the Department of Justice.

Those of you who read here regularly know that I have no love lost for Maureen Dowd. And yet in her latest column, she gives a fascinating window into the world of the D.C. press and what is going on here. That's because she links the current frenzy about the Obama administration's pursuit of leaks to the age-old story about the fact that President Obama doesn't cozy up enough to the insider beltway crowd. She does that via channeling Jonathan Alter. Here's how she starts:
Like many others in our business, Jonathan Alter says he is “on fire” about the Justice Department’s snooping on reporters and attempting to criminalize investigative journalism, including labeling the respected Fox News Washington correspondent James Rosen a “co-conspirator” in a leak investigation.
Then she goes on to quote Alter (he has a book coming out) about why the President "disdains" the press. In doing so, she goes back to the same old line she's been peddling for so long now.
Obama is not a needy person, but he needs to think of himself as purer than this town.

He wanted to be, Alter writes, “nontransactional, above the petty deals, ‘donor maintenance,’ and phony friendships of Washington. Here his self-awareness again failed him. In truth, he was all transactional in his work life.”

As Alter observes, “His failure to use the trappings of the presidency more often left him with one less tool in his toolbox.”

Obama did not understand why his stinginess with expressions of gratitude and phone calls could sting, or fathom the thrill of letters from the president.
So somehow in Dowd's petty mind (as well as Alter's) there is a link between President Obama's disdain for the gladhanding power games of the D.C. village and his desire to pursue leaks to the media regarding national security secrets.

I'd suggest its the other way around. It is the inability of the media to self-examine their own situation and their lack of connection to the needs of their customers that has led them to be so defensive over this whole issue regarding leaks (and to blindly follow the other "scandals" of hysteria concocted by the GOP).

The only group in politics that the American public thinks less of than Republicans these days is the media. Perhaps journalists should look at how successful the GOP has been in their all-out war with the administration before they attempt to wage one themselves.

Of note would be the recent Quinnipiac poll saying that "73 percent of American voters nationwide believe that dealing with the economy and unemployment should be a higher priority than the investigations." Or perhaps they could suggest that polling like that needs to be "unskewed."


  1. I predict Alter's book will end up on the remainders table at Walmart by the end of next month.


  2. It was the Obama Coalition that gave MSNBC their ratings. And, what do they do?

    Hire professional left whiners that wanna bash the President?

    And they think that the audience just has ‘no choice’ but to stick around and watch that nonsense?

    Say what you want about Ed Schultz, but I tell you this – he would have approached The Sequester totally different. Ed would have taken the ‘meat and potatoes’ approach to it – he would have had someone on DIRECTLY AFFECTED by The Sequester EVERY DAMN NIGHT.

    A Senior that lost their Meals on Wheels…parents that had to remove their children from Headstart…the cancer patients that lost their chemo and radiation. Ed would have put a FACE TO THE CUTS…and he would have done it every night.

    THAT is the guts level, grassroots type of thing that made Ed appealing..And Hayes just doesn’t have a clue about reporting like that.

    1. DaleF3 - You hit the nail on the head! Without Ed's 'Meat and Potatoes', MSNBC just drones on - hour by repetitive hour - until Maddow and Last Word. Without Ed preceeding them, the 'Progressive Heart and Soul' of MSNBC is just plain gone - along with his viewers and fans!

  3. rikyrah, Great Comment.

    ...and to Smartypants: maybe I'm "misremembering" but it seems if you take the 27% from the Quinnipiac poll that want to focus on the witch hunts, er "scandals", you're left with roughly Bush's approval number when he left office.

  4. Maureen Dowd is mostly pissed off that Obama knows how to keep it in his pants, thus denying her another Presidential Pee-Pee Pulitzer. Her sad Aging Irish Catholic Daddy Obsessions are about all she has left -- and there is plenty of unexamined racism in that demographic, to boot. (I'm a middle-aged white Irish Catholic woman and I've seen plenty of it in action.)

  5. Excellent analysis SP. Off to tweet.


  6. Media boycotts president. Nobody notices.

    No great loss. Last I checked, they were spending their time regurgitating Republican talking points rather than investigating the issues.

    The reason the media is both hated and ignored is for no other reason than that they assisted the Bush administration into lying us into war. They've lost the public's trust and have done nothing since to regain it.

    And to refer to a blatant propaganda mill like Fox as "News" belies everything the press claims to be about. Aside from the tea bag geezer demographic, the rest of the planet understands what Fox is - and it ain't journalism.