On Hugh Hewitt’s radio program Wednesday, Charles Krauthammer, a licensed psychiatrist, couldn’t decide if President Obama is delusional or merely cynical. He also said the president is “sort of … pathological” in the way he picks up “these (anti-Fox) memes” while not knowing “a damn thing” about what’s on Fox News.
Dr. K. was reacting to the startling comments Obama made at George Washington University Tuesday:
“There’s always been a strain in American politics where you’ve got the middle class, and the question has been who are you mad at if you’re struggling, if you’re working, but you don’t seem to be getting ahead,” the president said.. “And over the last 40 years, sadly, I think there’s been an effort to either make folks mad at folks at the top, or to make be mad at folks at the bottom. And I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, or don’t want to work, are lazy, you know, or undeserving, got traction. And look, it’s still being propagated. I mean, I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu. They will find, like folks who make me mad, and I don’t know where they find them, right? They’re all like, like I don’t want to work. I just want a free Obama phone or whatever. And that becomes an entire narrative, right, that gets worked up. And very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress, which is much more typical who’s raising a couple of kids, and is doing everything right, but still can’t pay the bills. And so if we’re going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, (!) we’re going to have to change how our body politick thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues, (!!) and how people’s impressions of what it’s like to struggle in this economy looks like, and how budgets connect to that. And that’s a hard process, because that requires a much broader conversation than typically we have.”
We’ve all come to expect these little mask-slipping episodes from Obama these past six+ years, but comments about controlling the media are particularly unsettling. What on earth was he proposing?
Hewitt asked Krauthammer for his take on the remarks.
Krauthammer quipped, “I remember we talked about it last night on Special Report, and I suggested that Fox buy a full-page ad touting the fact that Barack Obama is apparently now a constant viewer of Fox News, he’s such an expert on it.”
“He said if you watch it all the time, so I’m glad to know that he’s joined this vast audience that Fox commands. Look, this is sort of a pathological Obama where you know, he picks up these memes. He doesn’t know a damn thing about what’s on Fox. The idea that Fox is constantly showing, you know, sponges and leeches, and never shows the waitress trying to make it, it’s just sort of the mythological world that he lives in. Or he may be cynical. I mean, he may know it’s all nonsense. I mean, I can’t tell. I mean, after all, you probably need a psychiatrist to figure that out. But it’s either cynical or just hopelessly deluded on this. I would prefer to think he’s cynical, because I’d like somebody in the White House who’s not delusional. And this is the usual Obama cynicism. It’s the media, it’s the press, they’re underreporting liberal successes. I mean, look, the fact is a war on poverty, the billions poured into helping the poor, which in my 20s I rather supported until in my 30s, the empirical social science evidence began to come out that not only was money poured down the drain, but it was undermining the traditional structures of even the poorest neighborhoods and leading to real terrible pathologies, including helping to accelerate the breakdown of the family. So these are, there’s just the empirical social science refuting the liberal nostrums about how to help the poor. But he never engages in an argument. It’s all ad hominin.”
Hewitt agreed whole-heartedly with Krauthammer’s take. “I spent 15 years on the Children and Families Commission out here in California,” he said. “And Robert Putnam, the Harvard sociologist, who is a man of the left, just wrote this book, Our Kids, which documents in great detail everything you just said. The Times of London calls him the most influential academic in the world. He’s a lefty, right, but he recognizes the devastation brought about by all the wrong policy choices of the 60s on the family in America. It’s got nothing to do with Fox News.”
Dr. K did make one firm diagnosis.
“He’s got a tick,” he said. “I said last night, he’s got a tick, and it’s curable. I was going to offer to cure it myself, but I’m otherwise occupied. And even though licensed, I don’t practice anymore.”
My own take is that Obama — our first Alinsky-trained president — loves to get in front of young audiences and spout anti-Fox News propaganda because he knows that Fox News is unpopular on college campuses. So he gets to throw out what should be a hugely controversial trial balloon in a completely safe environment.
Of course, one can only speculate about what sort of policy prescriptions he has in mind to make the media more to his liking, but a controversial FCC program that was considered about a year ago could provide us with a clue.
In February of 2014, Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai blew the whistle on an FCC scheme that would have put researchers in American newsrooms to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide on which stories to run.
In a Wall Street Journal piece titled “The FCC Wades Into the Newsroom,” Pai wrote:.
The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about “the process by which stories are selected” and how often stations cover “critical information needs,” along with “perceived station bias” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”
How does the FCC plan to dig up all that information? First, the agency selected eight categories of “critical information” such as the “environment” and “economic opportunities,” that it believes local newscasters should cover. It plans to ask station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters to tell the government about their “news philosophy” and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information.
After a two-week long (conservative) media firestorm, the FCC retreated from their bizarre plan, but given Obama’s comments at Georgetown this week, one can’t help but wonder if he’s thinking about imposing some similar scheme in newsrooms across America in the time he has left.