Fear driv­ing Amer­i­cans from the Obama me­dia

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Bill O’Reilly

The TV rat­ings for Fe­bru­ary have been tab­u­lated, and in the world of ca­ble news there is weep­ing on the left. Fox News Chan­nel, which is gen­er­ally tougher on the pres­i­dent, ham­mered the two net­works that most fa­vor Pres­i­dent Obama — CNN and MSNBC. In fact, Fox News was the third-high­est rated primetime ca­ble net­work in Amer­ica, be­hind USA and TNT. CNN was 15th; MSNBC, a dis­mal 23rd.

Also, unique vis­i­tors to the Obama-loving web­site Daily Kos have de­clined a whop­ping 73 per­cent since last fall — a dis­as­ter. What’s go­ing on?

It all has to do with fear. While Mr. Obama re­tains a high ap­proval rat­ing, many Amer­i­cans are flat-out scared about the econ­omy. The re­ces­sion is bring­ing mas­sive pain to Amer­ica, and re­spon­si­ble cit­i­zens want the truth about pub­lic pol­icy, not par­ti­san cheer­lead­ing.

Thus, many news con­sumers do not trust news op­er­a­tions and web­sites that have a vested in­ter­est in see­ing Mr. Obama suc­ceed in the White House. One look at NBC News, for ex­am­ple, and you know the com­pany line is to help Mr. Obama, not re­port the un­var­nished truth.

Spin­ning the econ­omy does not help peo­ple whose jobs may be in jeop­ardy. They need solid in­for­ma­tion about what is ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing in or­der to make dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions on per­sonal spending and, per­haps, seek­ing new em­ploy­ment in a more se­cure in­dus­try. Self­pro­tec­tion dic­tates they se­cure the most re­li­able sources of in­for­ma­tion avail­able. On the other side, Obama bash­ing doesn’t do the folks much good, ei­ther. Why waste time on at­tacks when in­for­ma­tion is what the folks need? I think it’s fair to say that this bru­tal eco­nomic down­turn took most Amer­i­cans by sur­prise. It cer­tainly shocked me. Even though I’m a jour­nal­ist, I had no idea that mort­gage com­pa­nies were gam­ing the sys­tem by bundling risky loans and sell­ing them to dunces at Lehman Broth­ers. I was clue­less. In hind­sight, I should have been more skep­ti­cal of the hous­ing bub­ble.

The point is that con­cen­trat­ing on ide­ol­ogy in­stead of ac­cu­mu­lat­ing in­for­ma­tion can lead to a dis­torted view of re­al­ity. Many among the me­dia th­ese days are in busi­ness to pro­mote a po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy rather than to pro­tect the folks by ex- pos­ing danger­ous sit­u­a­tions. Ide­ol­ogy has cor­rupted the watch­dog press that our Founders en­vi­sioned.

Left to fend for them­selves, the folks are grav­i­tat­ing to­ward news agen­cies that seem­ingly tell it like it is. Com­mit­ted left- wing news­pa­pers are fold­ing in Seat­tle, Min­neapo­lis and, per­haps, San Fran­cisco. The New York Times had to bor­row money from a Mex­i­can guy at 14 per­cent in­ter­est, and far-left TV news op­er­a­tions are sink­ing fast.

Pres­i­dent Obama still has wide sup­port, but not fa­nat­i­cal sup­port. Most of the folks sim­ply want the truth, even though, th­ese days, the truth can be hard to han­dle.

Bill O’Reilly is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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