April 9, 2009

The Press Continues to Obsess Over Obama’s ‘Distractions’

Reuters is only the latest wire service to go way over the top in taking pity on President Obama for having to deal with nasty things that intervene to disturb Dear Leader’s apparent solitude.

At the same time, Reuters seems to be characterizing the situations in Iran and North Korea as “distractions” that are equivalent to that being posed by the Somali pirates.

I don’t know how else you can interpret the way this Reuters article by Steven Holland currently appears:


This is far from the first time a wire service has sympathized with the poor man being “distracted.” In an early January post (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I cited four examples within the previous 30 days of events framed as “distractions” by the establishment media. Two of them related to developments in the Rod Blagojevich scandal that ultimately led to the Illinois governor’s removal from office; one had to do with Bill Richardson’s withdrawal as Secretary of Commerce nominee; and the fourth related to the ongoing controversies over the US Senate seats in Illinois and Minnesota.

According to this Google News search, The words “Obama” and “distraction” have both appeared in 2,425 articles in just the past 30 days; excluding duplicates, it’s about 450. Of course, all of them don’t necessarily tie in to the administration’s current activities, but a quick cruise through the results shows that at least the following items are potentially or actually distracting President ‘Prompter and/or his administration:

  • Any debate over the trade embargo with Cuba.
  • The bid to renew the Clinton Era’s assault weapons ban.
  • The Korean rocket incident.
  • The war in Afghanistan (as seen through the eyes of Europeans).
  • The AIG bonuses (according to Rahm Emanuel).

By contrast, this final page of a Google News archive search from January 20, 2005 through November 1, 2008 shows that “Bush” and “distraction” appeared together in 809 articles in almost four years. Comparability between the two metrics isn’t perfect, but I sympathize with anyone who finds that the press’s obsession with the supposed distractions the White House’s current occupant faces is driving them to, well, distraction.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.



  1. International incidents are only “distractions” when they’re handled well. Poorly handled, they soon balloon to consume a presidency.

    I must be the only one who remembers W’s early trial. China objected to our electronic surveillance and engaged us in international waters. Our slow, unarmed, propeller-driven plane allegedly knocked their fighter jet out of the sky, and a squadron forced them down into China. Bush announced “China will return our crew in good health.

    Press kept asking “What if they don’t? What about our plane?” Bush kept repeating the same thing over and over. That’s a signal in Chinese culture. The subtext is “My demands will not ‘evolve’, are non-negotiable, and the alternative is simply unspeakable.” W knew how to handle it; after all he grew up in China when GHW was our embassador there, a fact little noted in the press.

    It had the potential to bring USA & China to near hostilities. But it was so well handled that history is certain to chalk it up in the “distraction” column. And despite their expansionist goals, we had good relations with China for all 8 years.

    Now our president with the african/muslim upbringing is being tested by Somali extremists. The parallels are obvious, but his response is chaotic, uncertain, weak. Expect a bad outcome from that, and expect more of the same from these antagonists. It will be a growing stain on his administration until he grows a pair, and learns to project power like an American.

    Comment by Mark Miller — April 12, 2009 @ 12:38 am

  2. #1, great reminder.

    Comment by TBlumer — April 12, 2009 @ 7:00 am

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