By Christopher B. Daly
Even on vacation, I couldn’t help noticing this piece in today’s Times about President Obama’s news-reading habits and his criticisms of some of the coverage.
As a media critic myself, I am not sure how I feel about adding this new guy to the ranks. But he does seem to have a grasp on some major issues. From the Times:
The news media have played a crucial role in Mr. Obama’s career, helping to make him a national star not long after he had been an anonymous state legislator. As president, however, he has come to believe the news media have had a role in frustrating his ambitions to change the terms of the country’s political discussion. He particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicareand Social Security, while Republicans oppose almost any tax increase to reduce the deficit.
Privately and publicly, Mr. Obama has articulated what he sees as two overarching problems: coverage that focuses on political winners and losers rather than substance; and a “false balance,” in which two opposing sides are given equal weight regardless of the facts.
Mr. Obama’s assessments overlap with common critiques from academics and journalism pundits, but when coming from a sitting president the appraisal is hardly objective, the experts say.
Irony alert: after quoting Obama on the problem of false balance and explaining the concept, the piece goes on to engage in the very practice.
To his credit, Obama seems to read a lot, and that can’t be a bad thing.
Now, back to the beach.