At a fundraiser in Chicago, President Obama called out the media’s lazy and cowardly both sides do it style of reporting.
Transcript of President Obama’s remarks:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Now, you’ll hear if you watch the nightly news or you read the newspapers that, well, there’s gridlock, Congress is broken, approval ratings for Congress are terrible. And there’s a tendency to say, a plague on both your houses. But the truth of the matter is that the problem in Congress is very specific. We have a group of folks in the Republican Party who have taken over who are so ideologically rigid, who are so committed to an economic theory that says if folks at the top do very well then everybody else is somehow going to do well; who deny the science of climate change; who don’t think making investments in early childhood education makes sense; who have repeatedly blocked raising a minimum wage so if you work full-time in this country you’re not living in poverty; who scoff at the notion that we might have a problem with women not getting paid for doing the same work that men are doing.
They, so far, at least, have refused to budge on bipartisan legislation to fix our immigration system, despite the fact that every economist who’s looked at it says it’s going to improve our economy, cut our deficits, help spawn entrepreneurship, and alleviate great pain from millions of families all across the country.
So the problem is not Dick Durbin. The problem is not Michael Bennet. The problem is not that the Democrats are overly ideological — because the truth of the matter is, is that the Democrats in Congress have consistently been willing to compromise and reach out to the other side. There are no radical proposals coming out from the left. When we talk about climate change, we talk about how do we incentivize through the market greater investment in clean energy. When we talk about immigration reform there’s no wild-eyed romanticism. We say we’re going to be tough on the borders, but let’s also make sure that the system works to allow families to stay together, and that we’re attracting talent like Michael who constantly replenish the American Dream.
When we talk about taxes we don’t say we’re going to have rates in the 70 percent or 90 percent when it comes to income like existed here 50, 60 years ago. We say let’s just make sure that those of us who have been incredibly blessed by this country are giving back to kids so that they’re getting a good start in life, so that they get early childhood education, so that struggling middle-class families are able to finance their education, and that if a talented young person wants to go into teaching or wants to become a social worker that they’re not burdened by hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt.
Health care — we didn’t suddenly impose some wild, crazy system. All we said was let’s make sure everybody has insurance. And this made the other side go nuts — the simple idea that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, nobody should go bankrupt because somebody in their family gets sick, working within a private system.
So when you hear a false equivalence that somehow, well, Congress is just broken, it’s not true. What’s broken right now is a Republican Party that repeatedly says no to proven, time-tested strategies to grow the economy, create more jobs, ensure fairness, open up opportunity to all people.
The truth is that Democrats have consistently tried to compromise and do the right thing for the country, but the rigid Republican ideologues in Congress respond with no. Obama was correct. There is nothing radical coming out of the left. Every policy prescription offered from climate change to the economy to healthcare has been moderate. Even when Democrats suggest moderate policies that Republicans used to support, they are met with cries of socialism.
The media has enabled this Republican behavior by confusing neutrality with laziness. The media doesn’t care about facts. The both sides do it argument is a way for the media to get out of doing their jobs. Obama was right. Washington isn’t broken. The Republican Party is broken, and when a broken party controls one chamber of Congress, chaos will take hold.
President Obama’s comments were similar to those made by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid when he called out Chuck Todd and the media for covering up for Republicans. Democrats understand that they can’t count on the media to debunk the Republican lies. The media is more than happy to play dumb and stick with their both sides do it babble. so Democrats are fighting back.
Obama and the Democrats aren’t going to stand around and let the media pretend that both sides do it. One side and only one side is responsible for the problems. If the American people want a government that functions the way it was intended to, they need to vote out the element of crazy that has infected the Republican Party.
Since the media refuses to accurately report what is going on, Obama and the Democrats are going to have to take their message directly to the people. Liberal media bias is a myth, but Republican enabling media laziness is the real deal.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and 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