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Our Incredibly Dishonest Media Does It Again

The spin on this Washington Post poll couldn't illustrate better how they lie to us.
Our Incredibly Dishonest Media Does It Again

Consider this to be a post written while barely containing my fury. If I sound angry, assume I'm angrier than I sound.

This is a real headline, from the Washington Post:

This is based on a poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC. Polls this time around have been erratic and strange, but let's assume for the sake of argument that this poll accurately reflects Americans' mood.

Is the collective mood of America a result of Obama or a result of some other faction? Look at the image at the top of this post.

Now tell me. Do you suppose the headline might just as easily have read "A Supermajority of Americans Think Congress Is A Failure"?

Here are some of the other findings of that poll:

  • 77 percent disapprove of the way Congress is doing their job.
  • 72 percent disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are doing their job.
  • 71 percent of Democrats are enthusiastic about voting for the Democrat running for Representative in November
  • 63 percent of Republicans are enthusiastic about voting for the Republican running for Representative in November
  • 47 percent believe Democrats understand their needs, compared to 35 percent who believe Republicans understand.

And the headline they chose to lead off that poll was that they thought Obama's presidency was a failure?

Those numbers ought to be reversed, and if we had honest reporters it would be. Instead, we get all the blame going to "Washington" and Obama.

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Here's a sampling of headlines from major media outlets' websites tonight. I went for the first mention of Obama I saw on their front page:

CNN.com: Lawmakers urge Obama to work with Congress on immigration - In the next-to-last paragraph, they do mention that the Senate passed a bill that Republicans are stalling on. But really, shouldn't that be farther up in a story where lawmakers are urging him to "work with them?" Questions for CNN: How exactly should he "work with them"? How has that worked out for him in the past? Bullshit reporting right there.

FoxNews.com: Who is still supporting President Obama? That was BillO's Talking Points Memo segment Tuesday night. Otherwise it's all about Christians being persecuted in the Middle East on their front page.

ABCNews.com: From Nursery School to Oval Office: Cute Kids Meet the President - Yes, they're cute kids. But this is their above-the-fold story on politics?

NBCNews.com: Been There, Tried That: What Obama Won't Say About ISIS

New York Times: Obama Ready To Authorize Airstrikes on ISIS in Syria

CBSNews.com: Obama to Congress: I Have Authority To Take Action Against ISIS - You won't find that above the fold on their home page. You have to go to the Politics page for it.

Added bonus: This is on the left rail on the politics page at CBSNews.com: Obama's immigration delay was political, GOP and Democrats agree. Duh. He said the decision was because the politics have changed. Get a clue, you clueless idiots.

Now taken as a whole, those headlines are not terribly negative. They're also not terribly informative. They don't inform about what Congress has or has not done since they've been back from their six-week vacation. They don't remind anyone that the ball is in Congress' court on immigration if they don't want an executive order. They speculate about what he might say in his address tonight about ISIS and the strategic outlook for the Middle East.

Let's have a look at widely read online news sites that purport to be bipartisan in nature or at least mainstream.

Politico: On their Congress page, we have "Obama's Brain Drain" with the subheadline "More than 220 nominees are waiting Senate confirmation to fill vacancies." You have the impression that it's Obama's fault? Or the Democratic Senate? Because for God's sake, people. The reason all those vacancies are there is because Republicans are blocking confirmation.

Huffington Post: "As Obama Promises "No Boots on the Ground," U.S. Military Trains for Just That Scenario." It doesn't take a genius to figure out the subtext in that headline, does it?

TheHill.com: "Obama tells leaders he doesn't need their vote for ISIS campaign." There's that magical Obama again, just waving his wand.

The blatant distortions, false frames, and emphasis on trivia while ignoring the truly important issues of our time adds up to one huge media failure. It's a wonder more people don't consider Obama a failure when news outlets fail to actually emphasize the truth of what's being done and what isn't.

Enough with this. If media were telling the truth, they would tell stories like this: We can't get a long-term budget because Republicans get more political mileage out of talking about a budget rather than actually passing one.

We can't get immigration reform passed because House Republicans know the Senate bill would pass the House if it came up for a vote, so it is politically advantageous to sit on it.

We can't get unemployment insurance extended or infrastructure funding or the minimum wage increased because we have a Republican majority in the House who will not consider such a thing.

Instead they report these things as Obama's failures. And I'm over it. Expect some posts from me in the coming days about Obama's successes and Congress' failures. Call me an Obamabot. Call me a partisan hack. I don't care. If someone doesn't start putting some balance out there, then we might as well just surrender and call it a day.

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