A Retired White House Correspondent Explains "How Obama Gets Away With It"

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Richard Benedetto, a retired USA Today White House correspondent and columnist, who teaches politics and journalism at American University and in the Fund for American Studies program at George Mason University. Originally posted in the WSJ.


How Obama Gets Away With It

At a time when large numbers of Americans say they are fed up with politics and politicians, why is it that the nation’s chief politician, President Obama, seems to skate above it unscathed?


Usually when an incumbent president is leaving office and a slew of candidates are battling for his job, that departing chief executive’s record is a major campaign issue.

But not this year, even though two of three Americans say the country is on the wrong track, job creation is sluggish, income inequality continues to rise and Mr. Obama’s job approval barely tops 50%. Moreover, approval of his handling of the war on terror and Islamic State is underwater, and a majority of Americans—white and black—say race relations are getting worse, not better.

When Mr. Obama ran for office in 2008, a central part of his campaign strategy was to heap blame on George W. Bush. How has Mr. Obama dodged similar treatment? One reason: Donald Trump’s bombastic candidacy is a huge distraction and often blocks out or obliterates more-substantive issues. That was the case even when his now-vanquished rivals tried to address serious topics. When Mr. Trump does criticize the president, it gets far less news play than his attacks on his opponents and critics, Republican or Democrat. As for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, they both are angling for a third consecutive Democratic administration, so are not eager to criticize Mr. Obama.

But another reason—a big one—why Mr. Obama is able to avoid being a target is that he is a deft manipulator of the media, probably more skillful at it than any president ever. He heads a savvy public-relations machine that markets him like a Hollywood celebrity, a role he obligingly and successfully plays. One of the machine’s key tactics is to place Mr. Obama in as many positive news and photo situations as possible. Ronald Reagan’s advisers were considered masters of putting their man in the best possible light, but they look like amateurs compared with the Obama operation—which has the added advantage of a particularly obliging news media.

A sampling over the past few weeks: A Washington Post photo captures President Obama blowing giant bubbles “At the final White House Science Fair of his presidency.” A New York Times photo shows the president mobbed by women admirers at a ceremony designating the Sewall-Belmont House on Capitol Hill as a national museum for women’s equality.

An ABC News video gives us Mr. Obama’s helicopter landing on the rainy grounds of Britain’s Windsor Castle, and then we visit the president and first lady lunching with Queen Elizabeth II on her 90th birthday.

In other news clips, we see a doctoral-robed Obama speaking to graduates of Howard University, a tuxedoed Obama yukking it up at the White House Correspondents Association dinner, a brave Obama drinking a glass of water in Flint, Mich., a cool Obama grooving with Aretha Franklin at a White House jazz concert, a serious Obama intently listening to Saudi King Salman, a jubilant Obama on his showy trip to Cuba.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but with Mr. Obama you also get the thousand words.

Yet at the same time we were seeing those nice photos, videos and articles, a lot of other important stuff was going on where Mr. Obama was hardly mentioned, seen or questioned. For example, the U.S. economy grew at a meager 0.5% in the first quarter of 2016; Russian military planes lately have been buzzing U.S. Navy ships; and China is building its military forces and expanding their reach in the South China Sea. Early in May, a Navy SEAL was killed in Iraq (the president has assured the American public that U.S. troops there, increasing in numbers, are not in combat roles). Islamic State terrorist attacks in Baghdad in recent weeks have killed scores of civilians. The Taliban are on the march in Afghanistan. The vicious war in Syria continues. The Middle East refugee crisis shows no sign of diminishing. Military provocations by Iran and North Korea keep coming.

President Obama’s media handlers try to keep the president as far away from these crises as possible, leaving others in his administration such as Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford to be their public face. That way the problems don’t appear to be Mr. Obama’s problem, and he is free to bask in the good news.

One of the news media’s main jobs is to hold public officials accountable, from the president on down. But Mr. Obama is the beneficiary of news-media managers and reporters who mostly like his style and agree with his policies, from his reluctance to make strong military commitments to his advocacy for LGBT rights, fighting climate change and supporting tougher gun-control laws. Case in point: The administration’s easy orchestration of the media story line about the Iranian nuclear deal, recently revealed by Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, only scratches the surface of the White House’s skill at managing a media happy to be managed.

Given such a congruence of opinion, Mr. Obama’s policies don’t receive the scrutiny and analysis they should. Reporters who criticize or dig too deep are cast by the administration as spoilsports or, worse, cut off from sources.

With Donald Trump now the media obsession—and most in the media don’t like him—it is easy to see why Mr. Obama’s performance over the past seven-plus years is still not a major issue in the 2016 campaign. And that’s the way he likes it.

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N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) May 21, 2016 12:02 PM

AND,  the top 10% - who run the government, media, both political teams, and Big-Corp - are doing better than at any time in history.  For the top 10% NOTHING is wrong.   What's to complain about, the trash-class losers?

A Pimp's love is different's picture

Obama "gets away with it" because he's a fucking "fag, get fucked in the ass, nigger affirmative action, apologetical, dimwit ass liberal mongering, global warming PEACE PRIZE advocate that the fucking jews who run the country cream in their circumcised dick kosher underpants to appoint as their GOY BOY to run/ruin the NEXT country (in the world history chronology), into the ground & appoint someone like Sheldon (King Herod) Adelson to lord over while they strip the goy of any wealth they ever worked for in their idiot lives."


I'll probably get kicked off of ZH for that comment. Because ZH is only interested in the TRUTH!

The Saint's picture

He gets away with it because he is a Democrat and mostly because he is a Knee Gro.

A Pimp's love is different's picture

Well, all I can say about that is that you'll NEVER get kicked off of ZH for criticizing a KNEE GROW...

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Tell a lie, make it big, make it bold, tell it often, silence dissenter.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

The mainstream media is designed to support the ruling class.  Obama is their puppet.  Figure it out yet?

jeff montanye's picture

i think it is because he is a negro but, as well, and importantly, talks like a white.

that he helps the zionists and the rich doesn't hurt either.

now here's someone who is not quite as good at shedding blame.


Escrava Isaura's picture



Obama gets way because he won two Presidential elections. And about half to the nation are Democrats.

Bush got way because Bush won two elections. And about half of the nation are Republicans.

Republican Party gets way more often because Americans are almost 2/1 more conservatives than liberal.

Another way why Obama gets away better than, say Bush or Trump, is a matter of style, not intent. Obama doesn’t insult others.

Now the next President will envy the previous two, because, most likely, actually, very likely, things will start getting out of control, because the financial system will start breakdown, taking with Wall Street, savings, and credit.



NidStyles's picture

So wait, half are Repugs, but two thirds are Repugs? What?


They all work for the same people, and that isn't us.


For reference, it's not even half the public that votes in elections.

Bay of Pigs's picture

He is a fucking dimwit still stuck in the false two party paradigm and narrative.

Escrava Isaura's picture



So please, remind us who run this nation? And more than half of the world?


RafterManFMJ's picture

Let's be frank here. No one, ever, and anywhere, expects the company's affirmative action hire to do literally anything.  You know he's deadweight and you are just happy he stays in his office, at lunch, or at home.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) RafterManFMJ May 22, 2016 6:25 AM

He gets away with it like Bill Clinton did. Bill should have been rejected when all those women accused him of sexual stuff during his first campaign.

Americans have rejected God and have been looking to Jew Hollywood for their Gods and Goddesses for decades. That is human nature, they figured that out.

They want to worship and Obama encourages them to project all their dreams onto himself. At this point it just illustrates how sick this society is.

Shockwave's picture

He said 2/3rds are conservative. He said half were Republicans. 

He didnt assume all people who are conservative, identify or vote as republicans.

Case in point, my father has almost all conservative views, but votes strictly democrat, because "democrats are for the little guy, and theyre the ones who saved us from the great depression and made sure that the middle class is taken care of".

He has no facts to back this up, its just the narrative thats been passed down from my grandfather who grew up during the depression. This is how average people actually remember this shit.

My father is just now figuring out that "the little guy" isn't the middle class, and for sure not white males. His whole political world is shattering because he's just now figuring out that he's been duped for his entire adult life. 

He and his friends, all boomers, had an unwavering trust in the government, that the government was supposed to take care of them as long as they were good citizens, went to work, paid your taxes, and the government would make sure that they were safe and properous.

Hes just now learning that its all been a lie, that the politicans don't care about anyone other than votes and lining their pockets, and he has no idea what to do.

Escrava Isaura's picture



Facts? Glad you asked. By the way, your father fits on the 17% of the demographics.



SuperRay's picture

Nothing will change until the Fed goes down. Rothschild's been stealing money through the Rico racket they've been running since 1913,  Execute Zionists

conscious being's picture

Arrest and try them SuperRay.

S Spade's picture

bush got his way???? you're delusional, i mean a democrat.  the democrats in congress and media turned on bush shortly after 911.  remember how the majority dems in both houses of congress used continued war funding to extort their wants and needs and blow up spending during his last two years in office.  you're too stupid to realize, besides being a pathological liar, obama is also your enemy.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

Another way why Obama gets away better than, say Bush or Trump, is a matter of style, not intent. Obama doesn’t insult others.

And who exactly did Bush insult? I am in no mood to defend the criminal Bush name these days, but at least try to temper your idiotic ramblings with a modicum of reality.

Boscovius's picture

"And who exactly did Bush insult?"


-Anybody with any fucking intelligence.

Scuba Steve's picture

Yea, the financial system will start to breakdown ...

Hey you confused bathroom goer, HONK HONK .. the mother fucker is halfway thru the sewer going past your boyfriends used gerbal carcass on the way to the nearest river.


Escrava Isaura's picture



The mainstream media main function are two: Indoctrinate the 20% and distract the 80%.



jeff montanye's picture

twas said of the new york times in the day: written for the jews by the catholics to confuse the protestants.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

And when Obama was elected: "The blacks are moving in, and they're using the Jews as muscle."

Ace006's picture

Good one.  I want to acknowledge this author's experience but I think the anti-liberty, anti-white bias of the press is more more destructive than engineering positive press events.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Trump will also be reprogrammed, when he's persuaded to go to Israel, and becomes another Manchurian Candidate.

He's trying to avoid it, until after he takes office, but the Neocons and Zionist Sayanim (e.g. Sheldon Adelson) are desperately trying to get him there ASAP.

What, do they have a super-being (Lucifer, Sith Lord, Space Alien) or Mind-Control Program over there, that turns Western politicians into such Zio-Puppets?

Jam Akin's picture

Credible threat of serious harm to loved ones is usually sufficient.

conscious being's picture

Lindberg Baby.

Kirk, nice post, but Trumpo's been captured from the get go. Interesting to see often reasonable posters like YogaPants drool over him.

FredFlintstone's picture

I thought the C I A controlled the MSM? 

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

~But another reason—a big one—why Mr. Obama is able to avoid being a target is that he is a deft manipulator of the media, probably more skillful at it than any president ever."~

I would have to say that it is just a tad bit more than Obama being a "deft manipulator" of the media. /s/ There is no outrage to Obama's willful, treasonous destruction of America because more than just being complacent, the main stream. Godless, far-left sychophantic corporate media has been eager, enthusiastic accomplices.

Leftists have the perception that his presidency is a way to get back at "the Man" and to assage their liberal "black guilt". By supporting Obama they can paint themselves as not being racists in their own minds.

Over 90% of leftists in America live within 25 miles of either a coastal body of water or major river complex. The rest of the country has made peace with all Americans of all colors. They've had to since they all have lived on the short end of the government largesse stick for well over a century. In rural America the black, the white, the asian and the aboriginals all get that they are being screwed by government at all levels. They also know that the less government they have the less likely they are to draw the ire of an all-powerful government agency out to increase its reign and influence on the lives of the weak and disempowered, i.e., the rural American.

So spare me that "deft manipulator" horseshit. If the press, the 4th estate, had done their fucking jobs back in 2007, this country might have still been in the mess it is today, but it would not have been at the hands of a man who went to Pakistan for a year as Barry Soetoro for madras training and returned Barack Hussein Obama. His homosexual prostitution and his drug dealing past would not still be a buried secret. But seriously, spare fucking me.

Oldwood's picture

Rush Limbaugh pointed this out some years back, noting that Obama is never tied to his policies and actions and constantly refers to himself as being apart from government...the eternal outsider, sitting at the very top of it all.

The Saint's picture

And there is Oh so much to criticize this one for.

P.S. I especially like the picture above of him blowing on his brain.

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

He 'gets away with it' not because he is a minority, but because he is both a minority and a weakling.  A strong man would never play 'the race card'.  As a weakling, Obama plays it eagerly since it is pretty much the primary tool in his very limited bag.  That one is able to play the race card effectively in this country reflects poorly on the rest of us collectively.  Obama is a sad character (as is his significant other - no surprise there) and his divisive and failed presidency is a supremely unfortunate and sad chapter in US history and will ultimately be etched in the annals of history as such.

Ace006's picture

Eight years of destruction and subversion.  I plan to buy every post-2016 book published about Obama and his zoo of sychophants at the WH.

Tom Servo's picture

Because the mainstream media gave up their jobs about 20 years ago, duh...


Can't be considered racist in questioning the first (half) black president in history...


Dumbing down of America is complete.   Yes I am an old curmudgeon...


drstrangelove73's picture

He is a Marxist knee grow.Fixed if for you.
If you are a conservative knee grow,i.e.Clarence Thomas,Bill Cosby they lynch you with an electronic noose on a digital gallows...

brown.indian.dan's picture

No Sir,

He gets away with "it" because the is no one who would actually stand up to him out of fear of the repercussions.

There aren't too many people left who want to be the change they want to see.

my two cents


A Pimp's love is different's picture

Isn't that basically what I just said <above>...


IOW ~ You'll NEVER get kicked off of ZH [the 'repurcussions], because all you do is talk in ambiguity and/or FAIL/SUCCEED to ID the perps as anything objectionable to the corporate sponsors.


Which means, You're WAY smarter than me (but also more FOS)

brown.indian.dan's picture

Again disagree with what you said.

If i read it correctly, what you said was

Obama gets away with it because hes a (whole lot of name calling) advocate of (expletive) Jews who run the country in their (unceremonius expletive Body part underpants) to advocate as their GOY (i assume people ) BOY to run/ruin the next country (in world history chronology) into the ground & appoint someone like Sheldon (King Herod) to lord over while they strip the goy (i again assume People) of any wealth they ever worked for in their (unbecoming of people expletive) lives.

Don't see the part where you called for people not standing up against him. 

As far as identifying the people who are respoonsible for the perpetuation of this massive shift of currency and wealth (note both are different) you dont have to look far. A couple of questions you could ask which would point you in the right direction:

1. Whom do they support against public opinion?

2. Where does the money go with each of their financial decisions.

3. Where do they get paid when they leave office? 

4. Who works with them to form their narrative?

That would round up most of the suspects. some trees and rope and you'll have an opera singing out telling you everything thats been happening.

my two cents 


Edit ~ That sir was FOS /s

A Pimp&#039;s love is different's picture

I just logged in to upvote you & to get you disco dancing instead of being worried about your incessant needs to deflect TRIBE criticism (& whereby, whether it's warranted or not, which, I'm 100% certain will be eventually JUDGED by a GOD that's INFINITELY more powerful than me & my stupid ruminations ~ & whereby I'm OK with that)...



Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Personally I'm aiming for the Mercy approach. I have no hope standing in judgement in a Just God's court. Then again, considering the Global Elite, eternal damnation does have a certain appeal when contemplated.


Lynn Trainor's picture

Not one of us has any hope of standing uncondemned before God in the judgement, that is, unless we humbly, gratefully accept the provision that a loving God has made for us, to let Jesus Christ stand there as our substitute.  "He that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son hath not life."  "No man cometh to the Father but by Me."  If you realized the depth of God's love for you in sending His Son to die to save you, you would rejoice and be so happy beyond all expression!  It is true, it is true, my friend!

Jesus says, "If ye love Me, keep my commandments."  It is a thrill to do whatever He wants us to do!  Obey and try to please Him in all things.  His love is beyond our ability to fully comprehend.  In the judgement you speak of, when every human being will see the results of his or her own choice, all will know the truth, that God is love!

Peak Finance's picture

Ridiculous article written by a 'tard

Obama gets away with it because he is black. Full stop.