Obama discovers the flip side of a compliant media

They don't ask the hard questions. Dana Milbank in the WaPo gives us the background to Obama's poor performance in the other night's debate:

In lieu of taking hard questions, Obama has opted for gauzy, soft-focus interviews with the likes of "Entertainment Tonight," gentle appearances on late-night comedy shows, kid-glove satellite hits with regional TV stations, and joint appearances with the first lady where questions are certain to be gentle. Tough questions are rare in one-on-one interviews, because Obama has more control over the topic — and the interviewer wants to be invited back.
If you want to find out how good you are at boxing, you don't take on old Mrs. Smith next door. You seek out your local boxing club's toughest fighter, don gloves and have at him.

I suspect Obama has been relying way too much on scriptwriters, PR aides and planning for his public engagements. He should take a leaf out of Bill Clinton's book -- no, really. In Barbara Olson's book about Hillary Clinton Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton she describes Bill at college where he would plonk down his lunch tray on the "black" table (hosting the small number of African-American students) and just start talking to the suspicious students there. Bill's no stranger to a hostile audience, and indeed seems to actively seek them out as a challenge. Barack has protected himself from hostile questions, to the detriment of his debating skills. Mitt is a businessman and his bread-and-butter is taking on difficult meetings - if a meeting is going to be easy, why not leave it to an underling?

Let me say in passing that the craven carrying-of-water for Obama perpetrated by most of the US and UK media is revolting to see. I'm all in favour of them asking tough questions of Romney and holding his record up for inspection; why, then, do they not do the same thing for his opponent? Case in point: the 2007 race-baiting video which USA Today has tried to claim was "widely covered" in 2008. My arse, USA Today. Maybe it was widely viewed among the media, but I'm a USA news and politics junkie and it's the first I've seen or heard of it.

I especially liked the talkingpointsmemo.com defence:

Despite protestations by Carlson that the media ignored Obama’s speech, CNN's Peter Hamby pointed out that FOX News aired video of the speech at the time:
So, and I'm just guessing here, CNN didn't air any of it? The only people who saw the video were those whom the media regards as being "in the tank" for the GOP? FFS.

The media are doing Obama no favours in the long term by sucking up to him in the short term. When he falls (and he will) it will be a hard, brutal fall that comes from nowhere with no real warning - because he, and his compliant media, have hidden him from all the warning signals.

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