“Obama, Gore need to stop whining about the right-wing media,” his latest blog post declares.
“I never realized that the conservative media were so eye-poppingly powerful,” said Kurtz, who focuses on media issues. “So mighty, in fact, that liberal politicians can’t seem to stop talking about how they are running roughshod over the country. My response: Can we please stop the whining?”
Such bellyaching isn’t new; when she was First Lady, Hillary Clinton often complained about a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” But sitting president and the former vice president are taking it to new levels.
“The latest to rant about the right is Al Gore,” Kurtz says. “The former vice president told Charlie Rose that President Barack Obama had been cautious, and when the CBS anchor asked whether there was ‘a very hostile environment for progressive ideas,’ Gore had his culprit ready.”
Not surprisingly, it was Fox News and “right-wing talk radio.”
President Barack Obama has been making similar statements lately. When asked about working with Republicans, Obama told an interviewer last week, “One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates.”
That’s too much, even for Kurtz. Let’s state the obvious, he said.
“There are times when many Fox programs, including in the non-opinion hours, appear to be on a jihad against the administration,” Kurtz pointed out. “And these days, MSNBC can be counted on to defend the Democrats almost around the clock. But let’s face it: These are cable channels with relatively modest audiences, and their impact is sometimes exaggerated inside the Beltway echo chamber. After all, Obama handily won re-election despite the best efforts of Sean Hannity and Limbaugh.”
There’s a reason Rush Limbaugh and Fox News exist, he added.
“What liberals sometimes forget is that the conservative media took root because many Americans felt the fourth estate was too left-wing,” Kurtz said. “ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, The New York Times and The Washington Post all strive for fairness, in my view, but there is little question that they have a social and cultural outlook that leans to the left.”
And Obama, he noted, “has an army, a navy and a bunch of nuclear weapons, not to mention an ability to command the airwaves at a moment’s notice. And he’s complaining about a cable channel and a radio talk-show host?”
As we have pointed out before, the problem isn’t that the media is too tough on conservatives and not tough enough on liberals. Ideally, the media should be tough on everyone in public office.
That’s our job.