Former President Barack Obama wants America to know what keeps him up at night: namely, that the media doesn’t speak with a united voice. Presumably in line with his.
In an interview with CBS News aired Tuesday, the former president lamented that we weren’t still living in the era where three major networks decided what news you would hear and how it was spun.
“The thing that I’m most worried about is the degree to which we’ve now had a divided conversation, in part because we have a divided media,” he said.
“When I was coming up, you had three TV stations. And people were getting a similar sense of what is true and what isn’t, what was real and what was not. Today, what I’m most concerned about is the fact that because of the splintering of the media, we almost occupy different realities.
“If something happens, in the past, everybody could say, ‘All right, we may disagree on how to solve it, but at least we all agree that, yeah, that’s an issue.’
“Now, people will say, ‘Well, that didn’t happen’ or ‘I don’t believe that.’”
According to the former president, “one of the goals of the Obama Foundation and one of the goals of my post-presidency is, how do we return to that common conversation?”
“How can we have a common set of facts?” he continued. “We may disagree on gun violence in terms of what the best prescriptions are, but we can’t deny the data that says the United States has levels of gun violence that are five, 10, 15 times more than other countries.”
Assumedly, the division he’s talking about began with Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and other conservative voices entering the fray. MSNBC and CNN are mostly likely fine addendums to the three networks that tell you “what is true and what isn’t,” but once the country starts watching Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, well, that’s where things are going awry.
This, as you might imagine, got derided by those goshdarn errant media outlets.
On Fox News, Jesse Watters said it was proof Obama was “starved for attention.”
“But seriously, Barack Obama can’t sleep at night because he doesn’t control every single media outlet?” Watters said. “He’s mad the CIA can’t spoon-feed lies to the three big networks anymore? Obama’s not getting his beauty rest because the American voters actually have access to more information?”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 17, 2023
Guest Kellyanne Conway, former campaign manager and adviser to President Donald Trump, also dismissed Obama’s remarks, noting how far down the lefty rabbit hole Obama had gone since the days of “hope and change.”
“This actually was resplendent in the 2022 campaign cycle, Jesse, where they brought out Barack Obama as the big gun,” Conway said. “He went and campaigned everywhere. But the guy who said, ‘Yes we can, hope you can, believe in change, you can do together’ — he was out there wagging his finger at us, scolding, screaming, shouting at us, shaming us.’
“‘Democracy is on the ballot,’ he said. ‘Kindness is on the ballot. Civility is on the ballot.’ Yes, I went to kindergarten myself, but inflation’s on the ballot, education, crime, all these things that he’s ignoring.”
But this is the paradox of Barack Obama.
The media love him. They play along with the fiction that his presidency was a spotless, scandal-free time. If it were possible to add him to Mount Rushmore, the folks at CBS, CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times would accuse anyone who objected to the honor of harboring a racial animus.
Everybody loves Obama — except for conservative outlets like Fox News and Breitbart, so that “divided media” is keeping the former president up at night.
Do you think Obama was a bad president?
Could you please start venerating Barack, Hillary and Uncle Joe, Fox News? That would be great. You wouldn’t want to keep the greatest living ex-president awake at two in the morning, now, would you?
Six years after he left office, Obama is determined not to go quietly. It’s not as if he’s a candidate for anything, after all, having served the maximum of two terms.
No, Jesse Watters is exactly right: The man is starved for attention.
What’s more, he wants your attention fixed on his ideas and his belief system at all times. None of that “divided media” stuff. We need to agree on a set of facts — just so long as those facts are his.