Mr. Obama IS SO Stimulating The Economy!

Fox News laughs all the way to the bank when the President criticises them.

Mr. Obama, contrary to some indications, does pay attention to what's going out here in the real world of taxpaying citizens.

For one thing, he's noticed that the stimulus plan he espoused simply isn't working.  Instead of appropriating money to stimulate the economy as Mr. Obama requested, the powers that be in Congress and the Senate passed a traditional feast for their most generous campaign contributors.

Nobody is surprised that all that spending hasn't helped the part of the economy where ordinary people live, but the lavishly porky largess does make it profitable for lobbyists to give more and more money to politicians.  What could be more stimulating than that?

But that's not really enough to gain approval of most voters; Mr. Obama needs something more visible.  Fortunately, he has other fields to fight on: many media businesses are in financial trouble.

We've commented on the fact that the New York Times is losing money, what with greedy unions running up costs and blinkered biases running down sales.  From Mr. Obama's point of view, the demise of the New York Times would be sad, but there are plenty of other mainstream media who support him.  He has so many uncritical editorialists out there in the media that there's no need to worry about the leftist point of view disappearing into bankruptcy.

There are relatively few media which present the conservative point of view.  Mr. Obama is rightly concerned about this left-leaning imbalance in the treatment of the events of the day.  Given the Constitutional function our media are supposed to exercise, namely, that of holding politicians' feet to the fire, it's quite gratifying to see that Mr. Obama has taken action to enhance the economic survival of a diversity of news outlets by promoting the fortunes of right-leaning organs.

In order to fulfill his twin goals of saving jobs and maintaining media diversity, Mr. Obama's White House has started attacking Fox News.  The New York Times reports:

Attacking the news media is a time-honored White House tactic but to an unusual degree, the Obama administration has narrowed its sights to one specific organization, the Fox News Channel, calling it, in essence, part of the political opposition.

"We're going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent," said Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, in a telephone interview on Sunday.  "As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don't need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave." [emphasis added]

The Times is correct in saying that it's common for the White House to complain about news coverage, but they're off the mark in making it seem that the level of vitriol which the White House is directing at Fox News is at all normal.  That's because orchestrating a major campaign to build up a particular media outlet is a lot of trouble and opportunities to do so without coming across as a commercial shill are relatively rare.

Nearly forty years ago, President Nixon believed that there was a serious imbalance in media coverage and he wanted to help out the Washington Post.  It's not so simple for a President to boost a business over its competitors, however, because he'll be accused of partisanship.  Accordingly, Mr. Nixon waited until the Washington Post started giving him bad press over Watergate, then he went on the attack.

He criticized the paper.  He fulminated about having the IRS give them serious problems.  He banned the paper from the White House press room.

All the while, the publicity the President gave the WaPo increased their circulation and added jobs just as any experienced politician would expect.  After all, Ben Franklin said, "Never argue with a man who buys his ink by the barrel."

Ben knew what he was talking about - he bought ink by the barrel - and ever since, any experienced politician knows that arguing with a news outlet only gives that particular news outlet more business and credibility.  With every fulmination and expostulation, the enemy press baron simply laughs all the way to the bank.  The more you criticize, the more business they get and the sillier you look.

We at Scragged admire the way Mr. Obama has seized the opportunity Fox gave him when they criticized his ACORN friends for using tax money to subsidize child prostitution.  He can now criticize them - Fox, that is, not ACORN - and help build their business without appearing partisan.

His desire to promote Fox News is so well hidden that some Fox leaders don't understand the favor he's doing them:

"Instead of governing, the White House continues to be in campaign mode, and Fox News is the target of their attack mentality," Michael Clemente, the channel's senior vice president for news, said in a statement on Sunday.

That's part of Mr. Obama's cleverness in concealing his intent.  By acting as if he's in campaign mode instead of governing mode, he can convince his staff to treat Fox like an enemy, which is just what Anita Dunn, Mr. Obama's communications director, said she's doing.

There are a few at Fox who understand what's going on:

Fox's senior vice president for programming, Bill Shine, says of the criticism from the White House, "Every time they do it, our ratings go up."  Mr. Obama's first year is on track to be the Fox News Channel's highest rated.

The effect is so specific as to extend to those particular Fox commentators whom Mr. Obama's minions have targeted by name, as the fabulously wealthy and successful press baron Rupert Murdoch observed:

"There were some strong remarks coming out of the White House about one or two of the commentators on Fox News," Murdoch told the annual meeting of News Corp. shareholders here.

"And all I can tell you is that it's tremendously increased their ratings," he said. [emphasis added]

The advertising market has been whacked, but no doubt the sales departments of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are working overtime to rake in the proceeds.  Jobs will be created as they require additional assistance.

Mr. Obama's efforts to increase employment and promote diversity of view in the media industry are working spectacularly.  If only his other ideas would work as well!

If only Mr. Obama would condemn and excoriate Scragged!

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Economics.
Reader Comments
Mr Offensicht
This is plainly a Democratic version of trickle down economics. They pay their buddies, and their buddies buy stuff with it (drugs) which then helps the economies of Mexico and Columbia, which helps them have more babies to export more workers to the USA who register as Democrats and the world goes on. My ancestors immigrated to get away from corruption. Where can I immigrate to?
October 19, 2009 9:32 AM
Where do you read drugs in this, Mr Offensict?
As an ex-coke dealer, all my customers were upper class white folks, all Republicans who saw the market as a tool, not an enemy
Don't forget both parties voted for the pork barrel projects (remember Sen. Stevens, R-Alaska?) and it is not a new phenomenon, as witness the last eight yrs..
Regarding the media, they sell stories to stay in business.. who cares whose side they are on.. it ain't mine.. the business of free speech is not free, and it's my right to not read their blather

October 19, 2009 11:35 PM
Why are liberals delighted? Don't they know tihs is building Fox's network? Particularly the part about Fox getting on Acorn before the other guys?

Behind the War Between White House and Fox
The heated back-and-forth has brought equal delight to Fox's conservative commentators and liberal Democrats.
October 23, 2009 5:08 AM
This is commonly called the "Streisand Effect"

It is especially strong in the Internet world.
October 23, 2009 6:03 PM
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