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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
Posted 9/15/2023

Michelle Obama

In the first part of this series, ConWebWatch showed how the Media Research Center continues to have regular freakouts over Barack and Michelle Obama, even though they left the White House in January 2017. As we enter the current decade, those Obama-bashing freakouts continued unabated.

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.

Former President Barack Obama and “Glory Days” singer Bruce Springsteen have launched a podcast titled “Renegades: Born in the USA.” Yeah, how’s that for obnoxious?


And Barry’s just being Barry, making media content with his mega-million dollar partnership with Netflix and his book deals, and talking trash about conservative Americans and Trump every step of the way. Yeah both of these jokers are real renegades, the way they are shilling for the all-encompassing liberal machine that is now looking to brand grandma’s facebook posts as “domestic terrorism.” Real outsider stuff, boys.

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.

Introducing the segment, host Jane Pauley swooned: “each of them can legitimately claim to be the boss. Anthony Mason is talking with former President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen.”

CBS correspondent Anthony Mason visited the two of them at Springsteen’s New Jersey farm which he hypocritically uses as a tax write-off in order to pay less taxes while simultaneously lecturing Americans on “paying their fair share.”


Later on in the interview, Mason attempted a return to reality by moving on from Obama and Springsteen’s bromance to ask how he's "feeling about the midterms and how the President is doing?”

Obama insisted he thinks “Joe Biden is pursuing the exact policies that need to be pursued.”

Hedging a bit, he added “has he been able to bridge the polarization that we’ve seen building up over several decades now? No. And in fairness to him, I wasn't able to slow that down as much as I would have liked, and certainly my successor, you know, actively promoted it.”

Instead of Mason jumping in and telling Obama that he was a major cause of the polarization that occurred during his administration, he let Obama act like he was above the fray.


Springsteen ended by claiming “we can be momentarily polarized, but at the end of the day, history is moving on.”

The fact that Obama and Springsteen are going to solve our nation’s “polarization” is laughable. If Anthony Mason was a real reporter he would’ve pointed that out.

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.

The evening newscasts spent a combined three minutes and two seconds on the Obama visit to the White House. This compares to zero time spent on Hunter Biden.

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.”


During a portion of the friendly chat aired on the 3rd Hour Today show, in the 9:00 a.m. ET hour, Roker was shown wondering: “During your presidency, you protected more public lands, more waterways, than any previous administration. Now that you are a private citizen, is climate change and the environment one of your top priorities?” Obama declared: “I think it has to be one of the top priorities for all of us.”

The purpose of the interview wasn’t just to push the left’s radical climate agenda, it was also promote Obama’s latest project, as Roker explained: “Now, his new Netflix series, Our Great National Parks, showcases some of the world’s most spectacular settings....The former president serving as both executive producer and narrator.”

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.

In every interview, Obama is treated as a global celebrity and as the wisest of wise men. One can understand a journalist offering more tender inquiries to an ex-president, but there is no difference in tenderness between now and during his presidency.

Look no further than NBC’s Obama interview by weatherman Al Roker, which aired on April 12 and 13. “Scrutiny” or “accountability” are not words that apply. NBC and the other liberal media outlets seek to put Republican presidents on trial, and put Democrat presidents at ease.

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."

This came during a week when Obama was honored for Obamacare, and the liberals all forgot Obama won the "Lie of the Year" from PolitiFact in 2013 for "If you like your health plan, you can keep it.


Usually, the "disinformation" cops and "fact checkers" think all of the dishonesty comes from the right wing. Obama was surprised after PolitiFact gave the "Lie of the Year" to "Death panels" (2009) and "Government takeover of health care" (2010).

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.

The Atlantic Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Goldberg interviewed Obama at his left-wing mag's “ Disinformation and Erosion of Democracy” conference. Obama more than once used seemingly pro-free-speech language during the event hosted by The University of Chicago’s law school.

“I believe in the idea of not just free speech, but also that you deal with bad speech with good speech,” he said. Obama added, however, that disinformation, or the “systematic effort to either [sic] promote false information [or] to suppress true information for the purpose of political gain, financial gain, enhancing power, suppressing others, targeting those you don’t like,” is a threat.

Obama added that “editorial choices...combined with any kind of ethno-nationalism or misogyny or racism can be fatal,” noting further “that is the media ecosystem that we now are occupying.”

Obama’s comment on anonymity was particularly relevant. “In some circumstances, it’s important to preserve anonymity, in terms of–so that there’s space in repressive societies to discuss issues,” he said. ”But as we’ve all learned, it’s a lot harder to be rude, obnoxious, cruel, uh—or lie when somebody knows you’re lying and knows who you are, and I think that there may be modifications there that can be made.”

There have been many recent attacks on online anonymity. The hacked private information of donors to the anti-COVID-19 mandate Freedom Convoy was spread across the internet. The Canadian government then froze some Freedom Convoy-connected cryptocurrency wallets.

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.”

Host Janai Norman set the table, “Now to an ABC News exclusive. Our Robin Roberts sitting down with Michelle Obama for a 20/20 primetime special. The former first lady about to release her new book, The Light We Carry, and first on GMA we have a sneak peek of their conversation where Ms. Obama talks about the motto that became her rallying cry. Check it out.”

In the clip, Roberts not only echoed those sentiments, she took the fawning to another level, “For nearly two decades the world has watched Michele Obama campaign for her husband, make history as the first black family in the White House and motivate many through 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.

Ed Morrissey tweeted back to Shapiro: “The secret to success in life: Find someone who loves you as unconditionally and fiercely as the mainstream media loves the Obamas.”

Except they’re not “mainstream” at all. These “objective newspapers” are blatantly leftist partisan rags, as they demonstrate on a daily basis.

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.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres about her new book The Light We Carry, Michelle Obama said, “As black women we deal with it, the whole thing about do you show up with your natural hair? ... As First Lady, I did not wear braids. Being the first – yeah, we had to ease up on the people ... I was like, it would be easier. Nope, nope. They’re not ready.”

In CNN’s coverage, Don Lemon said, “The former First Lady says that she kept her hair straight so her husband’s administration could focus on other issues and not her hair.”

Poor woman. Ben Shapiro joked about this, tweeting, “She is a modern-day Job.”

As if Obama wearing her hair in braids would have caused a media hellstorm and colossal controversy.

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.

Noah’s approach to interview was to lob softballs Obama’s way and let him ramble, “When you look at the discourse in the country as well, and around the world but again, I think you're correct in that America is the leader in what’s happening right now, the discourse has become so toxic and I wonder what you make of that where do you think it’s coming from? Do you think it is social media? Do you think it’s a tenor of politicians in the Capitol?”

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.

Whether it's People magazine or National Public Radio, Michelle Obama is running around selling a new advice-guru book titled The Light We Carry. She's calling herself "honest and vulnerable." They're honestly super-wealthy elites. Between their multi-book deals and their production company's deal with Netflix, they've probably worth more than $100 million, but the pro-Obama media never wants to put a number together. They know somehow that Trump is lying if he calls himself a billionaire, but they want everyone to remain incurious about how rich the Obamas have become.

Mrs. Obama tried to tell the NPR audience that when she says "we go high" doesn't mean that the Left can't hold on their rage, but it needs to be harnessed to reason. You can somehow be civil and filled with rage. That doesn't make any sense, except this lady wants everyone to embrace the contradiction and just love her.

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.”
And how does Houck know about all this? Because she has disclosed it. Also, she's a morning show host, not a hard-news reporters. By contrast, neither Houck nor anyone else at the MRC complained about a lack of ethics when numerous Fox News hosts secretly advised Donald Trump during his presidency and frequently communicated with him and his advisers while refusing to disclose it to their viewers.

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.

For the sake of all of us ESPN, stop the political pandering.

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.

Fallon led Obama with more of a statement than a question when he reported, “There’s also a chapter dedicated to, ‘When they go low, we go high.’”

After Obama recalled, “Well, people still keep asking me, “you still mean that?,” Fallon continued, “But, that was -- that was an epic line. That was just -- it just - it stuck in everyone's head… Did you realize how powerful that would be years after you--?”

Recently, Obama went low by insisting that racism wouldn’t let her wear her hair in a way she may have preferred while she was first lady.


All in all, Obama spent 20 minutes on The Tonight Show including two interview segments one pre-recorded segments where she and Fallon surprised people at a book store.

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.

King couldn’t even get a second beyond welcoming viewers to the show before reminding them Obama would be there. After the Eye Opener, King exclaimed they were “very excited because we’ve got a very special guest in the show today” after having “tour[ed] the country” and “spreading the word about her book.”

She added the title of her second book was The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times and remarked, “And boy, don’t we have some uncertain times right now.” Co-host Nate Burleson agreed, gushing, “And her light shines bright.”

Two teases later, King swooned over how Michelle was so highly anticipated at CBS that, in a move she claimed has never happened before, “a techician came to me and said, ‘how does Mrs. Obama like her room temperature?’”

The second part was even dumber as King called over a staffer to relay how this woman’s mom had chided her for planning to wear jeans in the presence of Obama[.]


King pivoted to her second book and gushed over “the difference between the two books because Becoming was a best-selling novel, over 12 million sold. Drop the microphone, thank you so much.”

“So when you started writing the second one, did you feel pressure that I have to top that, or I want to make another bestseller,” she asked.

Obama explained she wasn’t contractually obligated, but did anyway due to “the last few hard years of being in quarantine, dealing with COVID, all the political uncertainty” and thus “had a lot of time on my hands to just sort of stew and to mull over questions that young people...would ask about managing life in uncertain times.”


King’s final question was eye-rolling: “What gives you joy these days, Michelle Obama? What are you looking forward to?”

And because they couldn’t get enough, the show ended with King thanking Obama.

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.

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