Tuesday, September 13, 2016

President Obama to Media: Stop the False Equivalence

Today President Obama took on a topic that has been driving me to distraction, namely the lameness of the mainstream media and the false equivalence afforded to Donald Trump and his ugly, retrograde campaign.  A video of Obama's remarks is set out above.  A piece in Salon looks at Obama's remarks and the manner in which the irresponsible media is endangering the nation.  Here are excerpts:
With less than four weeks to go until voting registration closes in Pennsylvania, President Obama hit the campaign trail in Philadelphia for his first solo rally on behalf of Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.
In front of the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum made famous in the film “Rocky,” the president came out swinging strongly against Clinton’s Republican rival Donald Trump, explicitly naming the Birther turned White House aspirant for the first time while chiding the media for giving him a pass for his inflammatory rhetoric.
“You want to debate who’s more fit to be our president? One candidate who’s traveled to more countries than any secretary of state ever has, has more qualifications than pretty much anyone who’s ever run for this job and the other who isn’t fit in any way, shape, or form to represent this country abroad and be its commander-in-chief,” Obama said. “So somehow as things go on because we’ve become so partisan, our standards for what’s normal have changed. And Donald Trump says stuff everyday that used to be considered as disqualifying for being president. And yet because he says it over and over and over again the press just gives up and they just say, well, yeah, OK.”
“You can’t grade the presidency on a curve,” the president proclaimed, critiquing the coverage Trump has received in comparison to Clinton. “This is serious business. And when we see folks talking about transparency — you want to debate transparency? You’ve got one candidate in this debate who’s released decades worth of her tax returns. The other candidate is the first in decades who refuses to release any at all,”
“You want to debate foundations and charities? One candidate’s family foundation has saved countless lives around the world. The other candidate’s foundation took money other people gave to his charity and then bought a six-foot-tall painting of himself.”
“America’s got a lot of businessmen and women who have succeeded without hiding their taxes returns, or leaving a trail of lawsuits, workers who didn’t get paid, people feeling like they got cheated,” Obama said.
Pointing to Trump’s repeated assertion that he was opposed to the war in Iraq despite having supported an invasion in 2002 in an interview with Howard Stern, Obama provided the fact-check that had often been missing from prominent media figures: “Well, actually, he wasn’t.”
“But they just accept it,” the president said of the media. “So the bottom line is, is that we can not afford suddenly to treat this like a reality show. We can’t afford to act as if there’s some equivalence here.
Amen to what Obama said.  Will journalists get their heads out of their asses and be responsible and do their jobs?  I am not holding my breath. 

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