Obama blames the media 

"That's what they like to talk about. I understand."  (afp photo)

At a health care rally at George Mason University today, President Obama -- like so many before him -- named the culprit behind (in this case) all the crazy misunderstandings about health care reform. By creating a pointless diversion about how the bill will be passed, he said, the news media does a disservice by not spending more time explaining what's in the bill.

"It would be nice if we were just kind of examining the substance, we were walking through the details of the plan, what it means for you. But that's not what the cable stations like to talk about," Obama said.

"What they like to talk about is the politics of the vote. What does this mean in November? What does it mean to the poll numbers? Is this more of an advantage for Democrats or Republicans? What's it going to mean for Obama? Will his presidency be crippled, or will he be the comeback kid?"

"That's what they like to talk about. That's what they like to talk about. I understand," he said.

"One of the things you realize is basically that a lot of reporting in Washington, it's just like SportsCenter. It's considered a sport, and who's up and who's down, and everybody's keeping score. And you got the teams going at it. It's Rock 'Em Sock 'em Robots."

It's an old chestnut -- if reporters shift the focus to something you don't want to talk about, then they are the problem and they just don't get it! This bill is about helping people! And Obama is above worrying about "politics."

"Let me say this, George Mason: I don't know how this plays politically. Nobody really does."

"I mean, there's been so much misinformation and so much confusion and the climate at times during the course of this year has been so toxic and people are so anxious because the economy has been going through such a tough time. I don't know what's going to happen with the politics on this thing. I don't know whether my poll numbers go down, they go up. I don't know what happens in terms of Democrats versus Republicans."

"But here's what I do know. I do know that this bill, this legislation, is going to be enormously important for America's future."

Actually, just to quibble: There has been loads of reporting about what's in the bill. And how this plays politically is well-documented in numerous polls. It's also not the job of the news media to promote Obama's agenda. And coverage of the sinister mechanics of the vote or non-vote this weekend is probably a better expression of democracy (and transparency and accountability) than Obama's tacit embrace of "deem and pass."

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Michael Daboll

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