Conservative media critics are pushing back on President Obama’s suggestion that Capitol Hill Republicans would be more inclined to work across the aisle if they were “not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest.”
The president made the comments in an interview with The New Republic that was made public Sunday. The criticism of certain media outlets comes after he struggled to strike a comprehensive fiscal deal and faced early resistance over his new gun-control proposals.
Bob Lichter, president of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, said Obama is just using an old Democratic Party tactic of saying, “centrists would go along if those nasty conservatives don’t beat them up.”
“I don’t hear Obama complaining about The New York Times trying to pull him to the left,” added Lichter, a communications professor at the Northern Virginia university.
Author and syndicated columnist Ben Shapiro said Obama trying to challenge certain media outlets dates back to the start of his administration.
“He’s talking about silencing members of the media he doesn’t like,” he told Fox News. “He’s done that before — this idea that Fox News is some sort of evil force in the media. He’s gone after Rush Limbaugh, talked about starting boycotts. This is what he does. He’s a bully.”
“What he’s saying is the media is not liberal enough. I think he wants people who don’t like him to be quiet,” said Shapiro, editor-at-large at Breitbart News.
Obama, in the interview, further argued that House Speaker John Boehner wanted to reach a deal on recent fiscal issues but couldn’t in part because he was vulnerable to attack for compromising Republican principles and working with the president.
The president claimed the “more left-leaning media outlets,” on the other hand, “recognize that compromise is not a dirty word.”
Obama suggested that he, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are more willing than Republican leaders “to buck the more absolutist-wing elements in our party to try to get stuff done.”
The last time Obama criticized Fox News by name was on July 13, 2012.
“So just in case some of your friends or neighbors, or Uncle Jim, who’s a little stubborn and has been watching Fox News and he thinks that somehow I raised taxes — let’s just be clear: We’ve lowered taxes for middle-class families since I came into office,” the president said at a campaign event in Virginia Beach, Va.
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