Obama claims Fox News, Rush Limbaugh are the reason he couldn’t reach conservatives
One hallmark of President Barack Obama’s time in the White House, in addition to his big-government policies and focus on dividing Americans through identity politics, was his uncanny ability to blame all but himself for his own shortcomings.
New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin picked up on this messianic tendency in a November 2014 piece, published as Republicans were poised to regain a Senate majority, and thus control both houses of Congress, because of what he called “Obamaism,” defined as a “quasi-socialist commitment” to more powerful domestic government and an abdication of leadership abroad.
Noting the internal turmoil seizing the White House, as well as the “extraordinary pile-up of crises” beyond its walls, Goodwin wrote, “The presidency is sinking, but we are expected to believe that only the president is blameless.” As the collapse of “Obamaism” became more evident, Goodwin added, so were “Obama’s shameless attempts to duck responsibility.”
Well, the 44th president is back at it.
And this time, the fault lies with all those nasty right-wing media figures, such as Rush Limbaugh and personalities at Fox News.
“I ended up getting enormous support in these pretty conservative, rural, largely white communities when I was a senator, and that success was repeated when I ran for president in the first race in Iowa,” Obama said during a conversation at a PEN America virtual event on Tuesday, according to JustTheNews.com. Obama was featured because PEN America presented him its “Voice of Influence Award.”
“By my second year in office,” he continued, “I’m not sure if I could make that same connection, because now those same people are filtering me through Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and an entire right-wing or conservative media infrastructure that was characterizing me in a way that suggested I looked down on those folks or had nothing in common with them.”
Obama added that people accepted him then “with a different set of assumptions than they would today.”
“It’s yet one more example of how the connections that I may see, because I experienced them in my own life, may get harder to make if we’re only understanding people through our phones and our screens and we’re not having the face-to-face conversations where, by virtue of that conversation and experience, we can recognize ourselves in each other,” he added.
Obama had a part in this.
As JustTheNews noted, Obama in his 2008 bid had commented at a fundraiser about those “bitter” working-class whites in small-town America who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Criticism of those comments endured throughout Obama’s presidency.
After he became president, there were moments like when he said a white police officer in Boston “acted stupidly” in arresting Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. in front of his own home, as Gates who is Black, attempted to break in after locking himself out and refused to identify himself as the homeowner.
What’s not mentioned, however, is the reason Limbaugh, Fox News and other conservative media gained traction and thrived during Obama’s years.
The Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project released a study in 2017 that showed a paltry 5 percent of the media coverage of President Donald Trump’s first year in office was positive.
By comparison, Obama received 42 percent positive coverage, Pew found.
The gap was even bigger when viewed from another angle. Whereas 62 percent of Trump’s media mentions were considered “negative,” in his first year, for Obama it was just 20 percent.
In other words, Obama lost ground in those rural, white small towns because the “conservative media infrastructure” simply stripped away the sycophantic veneer the liberal media shrouded Obama in.