You've got to hand it to President Barack Obama this time.
The president, whose handling of the economy and foreign affairs have perpetually put him in the doghouse with the American people, figured out an executive strategy that would make him look good, no matter what.
He has targeted a group of people that is so despised by his fellow Americans that he simply had to look good, just by a comparison alone.
Of course, that downtrodden, much-maligned, utterly unappreciated class of professionals is the U.S. media.
The president has taken what would appear to be a risky strategy. He has all but declared war on the media by going after news agencies as different as The Associated Press and the Fox News Channel. What if the media wrote and broadcast unkind things about him? Wouldn't that potentially weaken his appeal to the people?
Naturally, the media and First Amendment defenders have howled that President Obama has gone too far. Pundits suggest that he hates the media because their coverage of him as a sitting president has been so much more negative than it was when he was a shining, dashing candidate for office way back in 2008. He has this point in common with everyone who has ever occupied the White House.
Historians make the point that this syndrome is inevitable and there is nothing that a president can do about it. This is a fair point.
As a working journalist, I take a different view, though. The media have certainly been very tough on President Obama — that includes the so-called liberal media as well. I say this is inevitable not because of any ideological bent, however.
What always happens is this: When a virtual unknown person bursts on to the big national stage, whether it is in politics or sports or movies or television or music, we in the media can't get enough of the new phenom. We build that person up and up and up and eventually there is no other place to go but down.
And when we get bored or disillusioned by the ex-phenom, look out. Then the media can really put on a show of resentment.
But President Obama has taken matters into his own hands by going after Fox News and the AP. The media have grumbled a lot but the American people also hate the media, for its inaccuracies, its so-called political biases, and its self-righteous tone.
So, the people will give the president the benefit of the doubt over the media. As a matter of fact, the president's much-followed approval rating has not taken a hit here in the slightest.
Score: President Obama 100 U.S. Media 0.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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