When it comes to Obama-era scandals, the American Right’s predominant emotion is frustration — a frustration that causes hypertension levels usually seen only in Cubs fans and the unfortunates hired to do PR for Lindsay Lohan and Shia LeBoeuf.
Liberals dubbed Ronald Reagan the “Teflon president” because they felt nothing ever stuck to him. President Obama is the Scotchguard president; the would-be scandals that ought to be dogging his administration simply seem to bead up into little droplets before they are briskly wiped away.
Conservatives will tell you, and rightly so, that this is happening because the mainstream media — the prestige press and the network television commentariat — are committing sins both of commission and omission. At times, they act as the president’s blocking tackles in some respects, speaking with contempt and dismissal when the scandals are even mentioned.
When they are not actively working in his defense, the media’s managers are downplaying the scandal stories as a general rule — and the failure to pursue them aggressively has the effect of quieting them down.
Why is this happening? Ironically, the mainstream media heavyweights may feel liberated from the responsibility of covering Obama administration malfeasances because of the existence of the alternative conservative media that have arisen over the past 20 years — talk radio, Fox News, and multiple websites.
Mainstream media types loathe the conservative media as much as the conservative media loathe them. The mainstream thinks conservative media are hysterical, ideologically driven by bad or stupid or evil ideas, and are simply after liberal scalps. They do not want to join those they consider jackals.
But the conservative media serve a second purpose, not only for their audiences but for the mainstream. The existence of the Right media means that the stories are being covered by someone, which relieves them of some of the responsibility they might otherwise feel to do the job themselves.
Even better, from their point of view, they also believe the stories are being covered in such a way that the mainstream media can dismiss them and attack them.
Well, did you know that the Attorney General of the United States was held in contempt back in June 2012 by the House of Representatives for refusing to provide documents to oversight committees regarding the demented Justice Department program that peddled guns to drug dealers later used to kill a federal agent?
That was no small thing — in fact, never before has such a sanction against a sitting cabinet member been declared by Congress. An unprecedented event is the very definition of news, and yet it went all but unacknowledged when it happened — dismissed as an election year stunt to harm the presidential candidacy of a man 90% of those who work in the media voted for.
Amazing to think it was only 11 months ago that the Internal Revenue Service admitted — on its own! — that it had outright targeted conservative groups for special (i.e., hostile) scrutiny in considering their applications for tax-exempt status. The matter seemed so serious that the president himself said he was outraged by it: “It’s inexcusable and Americans have a right to be angry about it and I am angry about it.”
Though he promised to hold the guilty parties accountable, and though several people resigned and/or retired, what has gone on since looks very much like stonewalling.
The IRS’s general counsel answered “I don’t recall” 80 times — 80 times! — when members of Congress asked him about what went on.
The now-retired person specifically in charge of the matter has repeatedly resorted to Fifth Amendment silence rather than answer Congressional questions.
And the once-angry president? He isn’t so angry any longer. There was “not even a smidgen of corruption” at work there, he told Bill O’Reilly.
Obama’s attitude is the mainstream attitude. Move along, nothing to see here.
This week, the former deputy director of the CIA acknowledged that he had disobeyed his then-boss, David Petraeus, and edited the administration’s talking points about the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi in September 2012 to remove reference to a terrorist attack.
You may not have heard about it. Why? Because the media long ago decided it was not interested in Benghazi. More that that: the one star reporter who was, Sheryl Atkisson of CBS News, found it necessary to quit her job earlier this year amid reports she couldn’t get airtime because her boss disapproved of the story.
The person serving as Obama’s secretary of state when the attacks happened actually demanded to know what difference the details made about the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi. That person is now the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.
She, too, will get 90% of the media vote.
Obama is Scotchguarded because the people who are supposed to be holding him to account are the ones holding the spray can.