Skip to main content

Obama blames the media

By Kevin Bohn, CNN Senior Producer
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • President Obama said Monday, "if you're watching TV, it's just kind of a whole downer"
  • "If you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart," he said Friday.
  • This isn't the first time Obama has been a media critics
  • "Good news doesn't get the same kind of ratings as bad news anymore," he said in 2012

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As President Obama battles slumping poll numbers and multiple world crises, twice in the past few days he has laid part of the blame for an anxious public at the feet of the media.

While he's not the first president to fault some of his problems on journalists, he has added a new twist to the argument.

Monday at a Labor Day event in Milwaukee the President touted some of the positive economic news the nation has seen adding: "So, look, I'm saying all this just because sometimes, you know, if you're watching TV, it's just kind of a whole downer. Now, we've got struggles. We've got work to do. But there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about America."

On Friday he also discussed why the public feels so anxious about the economy despite recovery from the great recession and declining unemployment numbers. He told a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Purchase, New York, some of those reasons for the uneasiness include those still unable to find a job and slower growth in wages and incomes.

But then he turned to the media and its impact. "Second reason people are feeling anxious is that if you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart."

Obama acknowledged, "We are living through some extraordinarily challenging times. A lot of it has to do with changes that are taking place in the Middle East in which an old order that had been in place for 50 years, 60 years, 100 years was unsustainable, and was going to break up at some point."

But at the same time he blamed the explosion of social media for accentuating this concern.

"The truth of the matter is, is that the world has always been messy. In part, we're just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through. The good news is that American leadership has never been more necessary, and there's really no competition out there for the ideas and the values that can create the sort of order that we need in this world."

These are not the first times the President has played media critic.

In 2012 while discussing descriptions of his image as aloof, he told Time magazine, "My suspicion is that this whole critique has to do with the fact that I don't go to a lot of Washington parties and, as a consequence, the Washington press corps maybe just doesn't feel like I'm in the mix enough with them, and they figure, well, if I'm not spending time with them, I must be cold and aloof."

Also in 2012 during a commencement speech at Barnard College he told the students: "No wonder that faith in our institutions has never been lower, particularly when good news doesn't get the same kind of ratings as bad news anymore. Every day you receive a steady stream of sensationalism and scandal and stories with a message that suggest change isn't possible; that you can't make a difference; that you won't be able to close that gap between life as it is and life as you want it to be."

And in 2013 he said in an interview with the New Republic that "one of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates" while talking about whether some Republicans would work with the White House.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT