President Obama laid it out plain and simple for the media tonight. Americans don’t trust their government, because the media thrives on only reporting the negative and the bad.
Chris Matthews asked the president why people don’t trust the federal government to do the right thing anymore.
President Obama answered,
When it comes to the management of government, part of the reason people are so skeptical is that when we do things right, they don’t get a lot of attention. If we do something that is perceived at least initially as a screwup it will be on the nightly news for a week.
So let’s take the example of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). You got a guy who has been in charge, Craig Fugate, who has managed as many natural disasters over the last five years as just about anybody, and he has done a flawless job…He’s doing a heck of a job, and that’s not just my opinion. That the opinion of every governor and mayor that works with him, including Republicans.
Nobody knows who this guy is,and if in fact we go in after Sandy or after the tornadoes in Oklahoma or Missouri, and we’re helping a lot of people effectively and quickly, and they’re getting what they need, nobody hears about that. That’s not something that’s reported about.
If on the other hand, you’ve got an office in Cincinnati in the IRS office that I think for bureaucratic reasons is trying to streamline what a difficult law to interpret about whether non-profit is actually a political organization deserves a tax exempt agency , and they’ve got a list, suddenly everbody’s outraged….By the way, Chris, I’ll point out that there are some called progressives perceived to be liberal commentators who during that week were just outraged at the possibility that these folks had been at the direction of the Democratic Party in some way discriminated against tea party folks. That is what gets news, what gets attention.
The media always wants to blame the president or the government for the high level of public distrust, but the reality is that media makes their money off of fueling that same distrust. Cable news wouldn’t exist if they covered all of the news. The media has decided that good news is boring, so when the Obama administration does something right, it isn’t reported on.
Republicans learned this years ago, which is why they feed the media an endless string of bogus scandals. Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, the ACA. It never stops, because the media lives on manufactured controversy.
President Obama was correct in pointing out that this behavior isn’t limited to the right. Some supposedly progressive media figures survive on the bogus scandals that the right seems to have an endless supply of. The media didn’t divide America, but they have helped Republicans undermine the public’s trust in government
The president nailed it. If the media wants to there to be more trust in government, they can start by reporting all of the news.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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