3 Apr 2015

This Chart Perfectly Captures Obama’s Relationship with the Media

President Obama’s media strategy has been one of exclusion, favoritism, and avoidance. This strategy has become even more obvious during his second term. To demonstrate just how, the Washington Post has made a chart which shows exactly who has (and more importantly who hasn’t) been allowed to interview the president so far this year. The results speak for themselves.
The chart shows the seating order of media outlets in the White House press room, as well as outlets which the president has sat down with outside the White House. In the press room, the president has almost exclusively engaged with liberal media, whereas outside the press room he has spent most of his time appearing in unconventional formats such as YouTube interviews.
While reaching out to younger audiences through unconventional media may be smart, it should not be the majority of a president’s media interaction. Obama excludes any media that is right of center and favors media that has a liberal bias. He seeks out softball interviews on media that is geared to non-political audiences.
Freedom of the press is important to a free society because it provides transparency of public institutions and allows for scrutiny of elected officials. When the president avoids the media, he is favoring his political image over any effort to interact with the public. He’d rather surround himself in an echo chamber than allow for critical questioning.
As Obama ends his second term, he has no consideration for reelection. He has demonstrated that without such motivation, he will simply choose to ignore any media that doesn’t carry his water.

The Washington Post lamented its lack of access to the president, while YouTube celebrities are treated with appearances, but they’re not alone. Even the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal have been froze out—showing the president’s disregard for long honored, legacy news outlets.
Obama’s strategy is one of manipulation. The tactics seek to revive his image through selective media engagement, targeting non-political and non-critical audiences. It is a fitting performance from a man who has always been more concerned with image than substance.

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