Behind the Mystery of Obama’s Popularity

Monday, 01 Oct 2012 09:29 AM

By Ronald Kessler

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Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — How could a president disclaim almost all responsibility for the fact that during his administration, the deficit increased $5.2 trillion? Answer: The press lets him get away with it.

How could a president who campaigned on the need to change Washington from the inside now say change has to come from outside? Answer: The press lets him get away with it.

How could a president’s spokespeople say the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was a protest against a YouTube video, when his own intelligence community believed it likely was a terrorist attack? Answer: The press lets him get away with it.

Editor's Note: Will Obama Be Defeated? Vote Here!

How could a president claim that roads, bridges, and teachers rather than businessmen are responsible for the success of their own companies? You guessed it: The press lets him get away with it.

A stunning example of how journalists cover up for this president appeared last week in Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker column in the Washington Post. Kessler — no relation — gave three pinocchios to an ad from American Crossroads pointing out that President Obama has skipped half of his intelligence briefings.

Kessler did not dispute that that was a fact. Indeed, Kessler wrote, during 2011 and the first half of 2012, Obama’s attendance record fell to just over 38 percent. But Kessler went on to offer excuses: Obama could not “skip” a briefing if he had not scheduled one. He reads the President’s Daily Brief. He meets with his national security advisers and asks questions. And some other former presidents also did not attend the briefings.

In a conclusion that is entirely beside the point, Kessler wrote, “Ultimately, what matters is what a president does with the information he receives from the CIA.”

But since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, what president who cares about the security of the country would risk blowing off the briefings? As noted in my story, "Former CIA Director: Intelligence Briefings Are Valuable," President Bush almost never missed one.

“The briefings of Bush were incredibly interactive,” former CIA Director Michael Hayden told me. “There was rich give and take, so that not only did the president get the advantage of knowing the analysts’ innermost thoughts, but they [the analysts] also were able to leave the room understanding what the president believed he needed in order to make the kind of decisions he had to make.”

As it happens, the disclosure that Obama has been skipping intelligence briefings 56 percent of the time appeared in a Washington Post column by Marc Thiessen. But any high school paper would have discarded as absurd Glenn Kessler’s supposedly fact-based piece claiming that a truthful ad was false.

As in the old Soviet Union, the press propagandizes and distorts reality to favor its hero, President Obama. In the same way, the media ignored for more than a year the fact that Obama spent 20 years listening to the anti-America, anti-white ravings of his self-described mentor and sounding board, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.

Thus the mystery of why Obama was elected and remains popular lies squarely with the press’ allegiance to him. While there are exceptions, the media overall downplay the distortions and fail to go on the attack, as reporters did with President Bush.

Editor's Note: Will Obama Be Defeated? Vote Here!

As one example, when Valerie Plame was exposed as a CIA operative, the press turned the disclosure into a scandal and blamed Bush. The New York Times ran 521 stories suggesting it was wrong for the White House and Karl Rove to divulge her name. Only 27 of the articles mentioned the person who actually leaked her name to columnist Robert Novak: former State Department official Richard Armitage, who ironically was a critic of the Bush administration.

“A democracy cannot be both ignorant and free,” Thomas Jefferson said. The media’s protection of President Obama represents a shameful chapter in American history.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of He is the New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.

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