Stephanopoulos 'Struck By' Obama's Obsession With Fox News

"I’ve always been struck by how -- and it’s not too strong a word -- how obsessed the President and the White House are with Fox News."

So said ABC's George Stephanopoulos during the Roundtable segment of Sunday's "This Week."

I kid you not.

With an on-screen chyron shockingly asking, "Free Media Ride For Obama?" the former member of the administration exceedingly paranoid of what it declared was a vast right-wing conspiracy actually discussed with his guests the fawning coverage the current White House resident is getting from the press.

Marvelously, George Will, for the second week in a row, did not disappoint (video available here, partial transcript follows): 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Well, the president is going to answer a lot of those questions Wednesday night at this -- in this conversation that Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson are having with him, which has sparked debate on talk radio, about whether the press has been too easy on President Obama.

Here’s what -- how the president answered the question in an interview this week.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT: I’ve got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration. I mean, that’s a pretty...

JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: I assume you’re talking about Fox.

OBAMA: Well, that’s a pretty big megaphone. And you’d be hard-pressed if you watched the entire day to find a positive story about me on that front.


STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, George, I’ve always been struck by how -- and it’s not too strong a word -- how obsessed the President and the White House are with Fox News.

Makes you wonder if the good folks at ABC News saw Jeff Poor's piece Tuesday. But I digress:

GEORGE WILL, ABC: Well, it’s the discordant note in an otherwise harmonious chorus, I suppose that’s why. But three great love affairs in world history are Abelard and Heloise, Romeo and Juliet, and the American media and this president at the moment.

Nice! Unfortunately, Will should have stopped there:

WILL: But this doesn’t matter over time. Reality will impinge. If his programs work, he’s fine. If it doesn’t work, all the adulation of journalists in the world won’t help (ph).

I think that remains to be seen, for if the press don't tell people Obama's programs aren't working, how will they know?

STEPHANOPOULOS: And there are some who say actually the president has gotten an abnormal amount of coverage of his personal life, personal style, celebrity coverage.

Yes, but those "some" clearly don't include the Grey Lady:

BILL KELLER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, first of all, he has got a fascinating life story, so, of course the personal side gets covered as the first obviously African-American family in the White House. But you know, don’t confuse attention with love. I mean, here is a new president who has promulgated one huge ambitious program after another. So, of course, he gets a lot of big, page-one headlines.

But I don’t think, at least up until now, it’s been unskeptical or uncritical. Read our business columnists on his approach to the deficit, his quasi-nationalization of the auto industry. He’s getting examined pretty microscopically.

What? The Times has been skeptical and critical of Obama? What color is newsprint in this guy's world?

Sadly, Keller wasn't the only confused panelist:

STEPHANOPOULOS: How is the White House press room doing?

SAM DONALDSON: I think it’s doing OK. I mean, they’re going to come to life as the public...



DONALDSON: He’s done a lot of things that you should commend him for. It’s not as if he invaded the Bay of Pigs. It’s not as if he told the military, don’t ask, don’t tell, in the first 48 hours. And they told him, no, sir, sit down, please, in the corner. But he has not made huge mistakes. He’s made some.

So press members should gush and fawn over a new president until he makes a huge mistake, Sam? Is that what now qualifies as journalism?

Alas, joining Keller and Donaldson on this redefinition of journalistic integrity was an Obama advisor:

ROBERT REICH, AMERICAN PROSPECT: But a distinction has to be drawn I think between adulation the press might have toward the person -- and we saw this with John F. Kennedy, we saw it with Ronald Reagan -- and the way the coverage is going on the policies.

And I think, Bill, you’re absolutely right. With regard to financial regulation, boy, he got a licking on the front page of the New York Times and many other places. This healthcare debate is being covered quite in a tough way.

This healthcare debate is being covered quite in a tough way, Robert? You mean like the way the New York Times and CBS News oversampled Obama voters in their just-released poll in order to create the illusion that an overwhelming majority of Americans support universal healthcare? That tough way, Robert?

It really takes an amazing amount of work for a liberal media member to believe the nonsense he or she spews on a regular basis, doesn't it?

ABC This Week George Will Robert Reich
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