The MRC's Lingering Obama Derangement, Part 2
Barack and Michelle Obama left the White House in 2017, but they continue to live rent-free in the collective heads of the Media Research Center -- even whining about Barack doing a podcast with Bruce Springsteen.
By Terry Krepel
Obama's planned podcast with rock legend Bruce Springsteen prompted a major round of MRC whining. Kyle Drennen huffed in February 2021 that the podcast was a "vanity project" and that coverage of it "made it clear journalists were still adoring fans eager for any new product being put out by the Democrat." Hays ramped up the petulance a couple days later under the all-caps headline "INSUFFERABLE":
What is it with the entertainment industry giving radio and podcast gigs to people who should have shut up years ago? In what is probably another sign of the apocalypse, two of the more insufferable lefties in American history are teaming up for one podcast series.
Hays is almost entertainingly oblivious to how much he's pegging the insufferably-obnoxious meter. But will he concede that Obama was, in fact, born in the USA? The jury's still out on that.
When Obama and Springsteen appeared on CBS to promote their podcast in July 2022, Kevin Tober was the designated melter-downer in a July 2022 post that took shots at both of them:
CBS Sunday Morning sat down with former President Barack Obama and rock star Bruce Springsteen for a chummy interview with the two leftists to promote their podcast. It was as gushy and pathetic as you might expect.
If Tober was an honest writer, he'd admit that the mission of his employer is to increase and exploit political polarization while blaming others for causing it and taking no responsibility for its role in trying to exacerbate it. Instead, he demonstrated that he not only has Obama Derangement Syndrome but Springsteen Derangement Syndrome as well.
New year, same derangement
The derangement continued in other areas as well in 2022 -- five years after Obama left office. When Obama paid a visit to the White House in April, Kevin Tober raged in an April 5 post:
Hours after former President Barack Obama returned to the White House to tout the Biden administration’s efforts to expand Obamacare, the evening newscasts returned to their old habits of gushing over their first true love: Barack Obama. While they were drooling over the former President, they spent their entire broadcasts ignoring the latest layer of the ongoing Hunter Biden scandal.
Since the MRC is also obsessed with Hunter Biden, Tober devoted a good chunk of his post to highlighting how "Back in reality, Fox News Channel’s Special Report covered the latest news out of the rabidly metastatizing Hunter Biden scandal."
NBC's Al Roker simply teasing an upcoming interview with Obama was enough to set off Kyle Drennen in an April 6 post, whining about how "Roker was already swooning as he confessed that he was 'so excited' for the softball chat that would preach climate activism and promote Obama’s upcoming nature documentary series on Netflix." Drennen then complained at length that Roker's "adulation for Obama has been equally strong over the years," going on to huff: "Given that history, viewers can expect similar Obama-gasms from Roker in next week’s interview with the former president."
When the actual interview dropped a week later, Drennen complained about that too:
During an interview with former President Obama conducted on Monday and aired on NBC’s Today show Wednesday morning, weatherman and climate activist Al Roker actually worried that the brutal war in Ukraine was distracting from pushing a left-wing environmental agenda. Obama replied by trying to use the conflict as an excuse “to wean ourselves off fossil fuels.”
Tim Graham also complained about the Roker interview in his April 15 column:
Whenever Barack Obama grants an interview to one of his adorers in the media, one who arrives bathed in the glow of servility, everyone should be reminded that this is a major reason why people don’t trust the media.
Then again, scrutiny and accountability were nowhere to be found when Graham did a softball interview with former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany -- who infamously abandoned her job after the Capitol riot -- a couple weeks later.
When Obama gave a speech calling for combatting online misinformation, the MRC unsurprisingly took offense. Graham played whataboutism in an April 10 post:
Naturally, CNN didn't find anything funny in David Axelrod and Jeffrey Goldberg honoring their hero Barack Obama with a spot at their conference on "Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy."
Graham then seemed to endorse bogus anti-Obama birtherism because he took some literary liberties in his memoir:
The CNN team thinks Obama is uber-qualified because of the "infamous" birther theory promulgated by Evil Orange Man, and they aren't going anywhere near Obama making up his own fairy tale in his memoir about staying in Hawaii with Daddy until he was two (he left with Mommy for the mainland soon after he was born). He also made up "composite girlfriends," but he's the scourge of disinformation.
Two days later, Catherine Salgado complained about Obama's endorsement of exposing online haters hiding behind anonymity:
“I am close to a First Amendment absolutist,” former President Barack Obama said last week, even as he called misinformation potentially “fatal” and suggested “modifications” to online anonymity.
Salgado did not explain why online haters must be allowed to hide behind anonymity.
Salgado also grumbled that Obama said that “If people are given different information, they can process differently," adding: "That sounds like what Big Tech and Big Media did before the 2020 election. Both restricted information unfavorable to then-Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden in a way that the Media Research Center found to have changed the election results." As ConWebWatch has documented, the MRC's conspiratorial findings were fueled by right-wing polls it purchased, one of which came from Trump's own campaign pollster.
Graham rehashed much of his earlier Obama derangement in his April 22 column, going on to rant: "This underlines why the liberal media should not be trusted in a 'disinformation' fight. They have a frustrating tendency to put themselves on the side of 'information' and conservatives on the side of 'disinformation.' Don’t try to argue it’s more complicated than that. They’re not listening."
Graham and the rest of the MRC love to put scare quotes around "disinformation" when a non-conservative is calling it out, but never when a fellow right-winger is making the accusation. Graham also offers no evidence why he and the MRC should be trusted on this issue more than anyone else.
Another Obama book, another meltdown
After Michelle Obama released a new book late last year, Alex Christy ranted in a Nov. 12 post:
The Saturday edition of Good Morning America on ABC previewed an upcoming 20/20 interview with former First Lady Michelle Obama. If the preview is anything to go buy [sic], it is more of a fan experience for Robin Roberts than an actual interview as she hyped “the saying she made famous.”
Graham whined further in his Nov. 18 column:
Ben Shapiro was blunt on Twitter. He had discovered “The most sycophantic book review ever written.” The book was the second tome from multi-millionaire author and advice guru Michelle Obama. The review appeared in The New York Times, from the paper’s “Help Desk” columnist Judith Newman. She’s “the help,” all right.
In addition to failing to label Shapiro and Morrissey as partisan right-wingers, Graham seems to have forgotten about the gooey softball interview he and Curtis Houck did with onetime Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany earlier in the year year, so he has little room to complain about softball interviews.
Jason Cohen ranted further in another post that day:
Michelle Obama put up with a lot from a “downright mean” country she never could be proud of until it elected her husband POTUS. But we’re still learning how hellish her eight years in the White House really was.
Actually, given that Barack Obama wearing a tan suit caused a media controversy -- which Cohen has apparently even forgotten about or is too young to remember -- Michelle Obama wearing braids would have absolutely caused one.
Speaking of Barack, he popped up on "The Daily Show" later that month, and Christy was there to whine about it:
Former President Barack Obama swung by The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Comedy Central on Wednesday to promote his foundation’s “Democracy Forum.” With the state of democracy being the prime focus of the conversation, Noah asked why the state of political discourse is so bad. Proving that some things never change, Obama blamed Fox News.
Christy went on to blame Obama for polarization while deflecting away from Fox News:
Fox is one network; the left has all the rest. If Obama is truly concerned about the state of political discourse, he should’ve spent more time on that progressive echo chamber he only briefly mentioned or not used the bully pulpit to go after the one network that was critical of him during his presidency and Noah and his late night colleagues should take Obama’s advice and break out of their progressive bubbles.
Just like a resident of the right-wing media bubble to refuse to acknowledge it doesn't exist, assume that every channel that isn't as right-wing as Fox is on "the left," or that deny that Fox News plays a major role in manufacturing political polarization.
Graham then spent his Nov. 18 podcast rehashing the anti-Obama antipathy he and his subordinates have been spewing:
Now that the election season is over, it's that special time on the political calendar when the Obamas come out of their mansion and bless their adoring media with the joy of their presence. Barack Obama lowered himself to The Daily Show on Comedy Central with Trevor Noah, and they discussed how Fox News has turbocharged divisions, and now the tone is so toxic.
Like we said: rent-free. And that's not all -- the MRC has to attack anyone in the media close to them. A Nov. 21 post by Curtis Houck raged at CBS host Gayle King for being friends with Obama:
CBS Mornings (and its predecessor CBS This Morning) has lacked serious journalistic ethics since its inception as, somehow, CBS has seen zero problems with co-host Gayle King, who’s had a past of not only donating to the Democratic Party but vacationed with the Obama family. This lack of ethics was on display Monday as King gushed over her time with Michelle Obama on Friday as part of the latter’s book tour that included Obama gifting her a jacket with her initials “G.K.”
Meanwhile, John Simmons freaked out in an Oct. 25 post when Barack Obama appeared on ESPN's "Manningcast" of an NFL game to urge people to vote, and even though he didn't make a political statement about what party to vote for, this was all somehow about "influencing viewers to become progressive disciples." He then embedded a tweet from the Manning brothers' production company containing a vote-encouraging link -- which apparently wasn't even mentioned during the broadcast -- ranting that this was more evidence of this purported bias:
The link embedded in this tweet above was to a DNC-backed website, so while Obama refrained from specifically mentioning any Democratic candidates, the link’s origins and the fact that one of the most liberal presidents in history was invited on the show speaks volumes as to what ESPN and its employees want Americans to do come Nov. 9.
Simmons also accused Obama of being someone who "regularly advocates for censoring conservative voices on social media" -- though the link he provided to supposedly prove this show Obama speaking out about online disinformation, not advocating "censorship," and he did not mention conservatives at all. (Is Simmons admitting that spreading disinformation is a conservative goal?) He also complained that America "saw a worsening of race relations than an improvement," though one could argue that right-wingers being triggered by a black man being president played no small role in that, and he did not explain what Obama could possibly have done to change things when his opponents were (and are) so desperate to lash out at anything he does.
Triggered into 2023
By 2023, the Obamas had been out of the White House for six years -- and the MRC was still triggered by them. Luis Cornelio spent an April 6 post demanding people should care about what happened in an election Obama won 11 years earlier: "ABC, CBS and NBC took a stand on a potential scandal involving tens of millions in reportedly stolen money and former President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign: We won’t report on this."
Cornelio offered no evidence that Obama played a role, let alone even knew about it -- the goal is to besmirch Obama in any way possible, after all.
Michelle Obama appeared on TV to promote a book, and Alex Christy whined about it in an April 20 post:
Former First Lady Michelle Obama reignited her book tour on Wednesday as she stopped by NBC’s The Tonight Show for an interview with host Jimmy Fallon, who was espicially interested in one specific chapter.
Needless to say, right-wingers like Christy would have absolutely caused a controversy if Michelle Obama had changed her hair in the White House, and it's not racist or "going low" to point that out.
The same day, another interview with Michelle Obama sent Curtis Houck into a full ODS rage:
After having teased former First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance all week, Thursday’s CBS Mornings lived up to the embarrassing hype with an astounding nine teases plus 14 minutes and 20 seconds over two segments prostrating themselves over the ground she walked on, led by co-host, Democratic donor, and Obama family friend Gayle King (neither of which was, as usual, disclosed to viewers). All told, democracy died in a lack of journalism.
Tim Graham rehashed all of this for his April 21 podcast:
Meanwhile, Michelle Obama drew typical goop about her line "when they go low, we go high" and whether she would please her superfans by running for president someday. NBC late-night host Jimmy Fallon hailed her "epic line," but Michelle Obama has certainly gone low over the years, including in convention speeches. CBS morning host Gayle King gushed all over her, as usual, as you might expect, since they have vacationed together. But Mrs. Obama had a gaffe when she claimed America’s the only country with "unfettered access to firearms." Many felons, domestic abusers, and mental health patients don't get access.
In fact, many right-wingers oppose red-flag laws that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, "mental health patients" and other people deemed to be dangerous.