Better Manufactured Outrage Please

by Brien Jackson

Apparently the wingnut outrage of the day is Obama “taking over the programming of ABC.” Drudge was all over it, calling it an “ethical firestorm” that ABC was going to broadcast the news from inside the White House, because obviously the secret service will be standing behind the cameras waiting to kill the child of anyone who says something mean about the President from inside the White House. Or something.

Anyway, as I understand it, Diane Sawyer will interview the President for Good Morning America, the evening news will be broadcast from the White House, and then Sawyer and Charlie Gibson will moderate a townhall meeting with the President taking questions from a live audience about healthcare. Which actually seems like selling yourself short from the White House. After all, if he was taking questions from the White House press corps, instead of non-journalisty people, he’d get to be on every network. We could call it something like a “primetime press conference.” It would be awesome! (Ok, I made that part up)

Anyway, the RNC is apparently mad that there won’t be any “opposition.” You know, that damn liberal media and all, giving the President a platform to speak to the people without any Congressional Republicans there to provide a counterpoint. There’s a lot of ways you could slice that up, but the question that immediately comes to mind for me is; when is the President ever directly confronted by the political opposition on television? I’m coming up with campaign debates, and that’s pretty much it. Indeed, senior administration officials are almost always solo when they appear on television. Can anyone point me to a Sunday morning interview with Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, or Powell that weren’t one-on-ones? Anyone remember Bush doing joint press conferences in primetime with Nancy Pelosi? For better or worse, this is just standard protocol for dealing with the executive branch.

I’m old enough to remember when accusations of liberal bias made some superficial sense.