Oops. That’s the sound of the New York Times editorial staff striking out the text of a potentially embarrassing admission by Barack Obama but — thanks to the internet’s long memory — failing to expunge all evidence. In fact, that makes the story something of a twofer: Obama says something revealing his ineptitude, and his pals in the mainstream media revealing theirs by bungling the cover-up.
Mediaite’s Alex Griswold writes, “If you read The New York Times‘ story on President Barack Obama‘s private meeting with news columnists Friday morning, you may have caught one quote that made the President look particularly bad:”
“In his meeting with the columnists, Mr. Obama indicated that he did not see enough cable television to fully appreciate the anxiety after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and made clear that he plans to step up his public arguments. [Emphasis added]
“The President of the United States failed to understand that Americans were anxious after two major terrorist attacks in Western cities because he doesn’t watch TV? It’s an admission that opponents are sure to use to make the president seem out-of-touch at best, and unconcerned about a serious threat at worst.”
The Twitterverse promptly lit up with reactions to both the Times’s duplicity and Obama’s revelation. Brian Stelter os CNN tweeted, “Obama needs more cable news in his media diet? Revealing comment in a private meeting with newspaper columnists.” The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto tweeted back, “Imagine Bush saying this.”
As an aside, I would take issue with Griswold’s that Obama “doesn’t watch TV.” No less a source than the New York Times (via LU) corrects the record on that point:
“These days, when Mr. Obama retreats to the White House residence after a long day on the other end of the colonnade, he is working his way through the DVD box set of AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’….
“Friends say Mr. Obama is also keenly awaiting the new season of the Netflix show ‘House of Cards.’…
“Mr. Obama is also a devotee of Showtime’s ‘Homeland.’…
“And the list of heavies continues. Mr. Obama has told people he is a big fan of ‘Game of Thrones.’… He has raved about ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and the BBC’s ‘Downton Abbey.’… And he has worked his way through the DVDs of AMC’s smoldering ‘Mad Men’ series.”
The Times’s Michael Shear, who authored the 2013 piece, also revealed, perhaps inadvertently, that Obama governs with one eye on the small screen:
In a speech earlier this month, Mr. Obama pledged the remainder of his presidency to the fight against the kinds of persistent poverty that were depicted in “The Wire.”
“The idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care, or a community that views her future as their own,” Mr. Obama said, “that should offend all of us and it should compel us to action. We are a better country than this.”
With all the hours Obama spends watching TV, you have to wonder when he finds time … to play golf.