Political reporters have now toggled from worrying that Obama gets "too much" media coverage to asking whether he is "too" good at communicating through the media. Maybe even obnoxiously good. Maybe even — here comes that loaded word from the primaries — too articulate.
The A.P.’s Liz Sidoti is on the case. And this is from a news article:
Obama has been a constant presence in the mass media as he expands the bureaucracy’s reach into the private sector…. In doing so, he has created a quandary. Put aside for a moment the question of whether government is actually intruding into people’s lives more than before. The point is that many people feel like it is — in part because Obama doesn’t stop talking about his goals. If President George W. Bush got slapped around for being inarticulate, is Obama obnoxiously articulate?
What a quandary!
Once you "put aside" the actual facts and policy debate, there’s that President talking on the TV about "his goals" — and talking so articulately — it just makes you wonder if the government is going to tell you how to mow your lawn. Or something. The article doesn’t really try to support its own premise, as blogger Brendan Nyhan explains:
Sidoti is forced to admit later in the piece that she has no empirical support for her claim:
While Obama has been criticized for being too visible, AP-GfK surveys in the spring and summer found that most people say he is on TV about the right amount.
If the "political" hook is that all this might matter because voters want different prime time programming, that’s wrong, too. Note that we only "know" this because pollsters are spending money to ask whether The President is on TV too much. (On the list of frivolous things that get too much airtime, the federal government and leader of the free world are near the bottom.) And then, just to round out the media madness, one of Nyhan’s commenters did a little research and found the same A.P. reporter wrote an article last month about Obama failing to articulate his vision to the public. How obnoxious.
[N]o one seems to know what the president seeks [on health care]…"I don’t know what he wants to do," says Phil Axworthy, a Pittsburgh software developer. A failure of leadership? Or simply a failure to communicate? Are those things the same when a complicated issue is so important to so many? And if a president can’t articulate his vision on something so sprawling and all-encompassing, how can he lead?
It is surreal.
I’ve debated the "overexposure" concern troll question myself, in meta-television segments, naturally, and the whole thing feels like the the media is eating its own tail and jumping the shark all at once. Sorry that wasn’t more, you know, articulate.