Proving the president’s point

PROVING THE PRESIDENT’S POINT…. This morning, President Obama chided the press a bit, explaining that he felt it necessary to release his long-form birth certificate in part because the media is too easily distracted by nonsense. This caused some reporters to feel a bit defensive.

But a few hours later, Obama’s point looked even more salient.

Here’s the president, around 10 a.m.

“We’ve got some enormous challenges out there…. And I’m confident that the American people and America’s political leaders can come together in a bipartisan way and solve these problems. We always have.

“But we’re not going to be able to do it if we are distracted…. We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers. […]

“We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We got big problems to solve, and I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them, not on this.”

And here’s a report on the cable news network, four hours later:

Cable nets covered entire Donald Trump presser this morning. Can’t stay with Bernanke for more than 180 seconds.

Now, objectively, what’s more important, the odd tirades of a TV reality-show host, or the first-ever press conference by a chairman of the Federal Reserve during difficult economic times? And which of these two were aired to a national television audience in its entirety?

We’ll fail to address pressing challenges “if we are distracted.” The president wasn’t talking to voters; he was talking to journalists.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation