Two Paragraphs, Six Subtle Attacks

You have to give Politico credit — for all their subtle evil, they’re good at what they do. From today’s headline story (emphasis ours):

For the sixth time in 11 days, President Barack Obama was back before the cameras Thursday, talking about airline safety and anti-terrorism. He then left quickly for a second White House room to meet with Senate chairmen and press them to have a health care bill on his desk no later than next month.

As a candidate, Obama’s cool was never fatal because so many voters simply imposed their own dreams on him. But wrapped in the bubble of the Oval Office and surrounded by Ivy-educated budget and economic advisers, this detachment is magnified and hurts him with lawmakers and voters alike, looking for more of a connection amid tough times. For all he shares with FDR, “Mr. Fireside Chat” Obama is not.

Count the tricky rhetorical attacks:

  1. Too popular: Obama appears on television. But does he do it too much? Set against later arguments that Obama hasn’t done enough to assuage a concerned public, this is kind of contradictory, but feeds in to popular Beck/RedState memes, which don’t really need consistency to have the desired effect.
  2. Too ambivalent about terrorism: “left quickly” implies a reluctance to continue the first dialogue.
  3. Too insular: “…a second White House room” is superfluous information. Obama is the President. This implies his meetings are at the White House. Reminding us of the fact serves no purpose except to feed the notion that, by virtue of his office, Obama is somehow “too connected” to govern.
  4. Too unexperienced: grace under pressure isn’t a sign of moral clarity — it proves the President is a blank slate.
  5. Too elite: that some of his advisers are “Ivy-educated” adds nothing to this article, and doesn’t support the contention that Obama is disconnected. There’s nothing wrong with being “Ivy-educated,” and the origin of one’s degree gives no information about how connected to “real America” a graduate is. But, of course, we’ve been trained by the right to fear earned knowledge.
  6. Too liberal: “For all he shares with FDR…” sounds to me like a compliment. But consider the audience. Despite his many successes, and iconic place in twentieth century history, Republicans (and especially Politico) have been been pushing for a while now the revisionist claim that the New Deal prolonged, rather than shortened, the Great Depression.

Careful word choice can convey a lot of information quickly, and really, you have to appreciate the work of a master. But set Politico‘s ability to stack culture war attacks against the facts you receive in the two paragraphs:

  1. On Thursday, Obama gave a speech about terrorism.

At what point do we stop regarding Politico as a news source? Reporting on plausible attacks on President Obama is not journalism.

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