By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
Following last year’s State of the Union address by President Barack Obama, I titled my column “The State of the Union is Mendacity.” It is quite remarkable how little within it would need to be changed to have it apply to this week’s State of the Union. From the recovering economy, to negotiations with Iran, to the containment and defeat of “violent extremism,” to equal pay for women and the need to combat climate change, to a call for a minimum wage hike—there is little difference between the laundry lists presented by President Obama in 2014 and 2015.
But there is a major difference in the political climate.
“The most important omission [in the President’s State of the Union] was the fact that there were 83 fewer Democrats in the chamber this year than the first time he gave a State of the Union speech and dozens less than the number of his fellow party members that were there last year,” writes Jonathan S. Tobin for Commentary magazine. “The historic rejection of both the president’s party and his policies in last November’s midterm elections was treated in the speech as if it had never happened.”
Instead, America was treated to a laundry list of liberal agenda items, right after President Obama first said he would “focus less on a checklist of proposals, and focus more on the values at stake in the choices before us.”
“When we looked at what Obama actually proposed, all we found was a musty laundry list of liberal programs, most of which already got huge boosts in spending and failed to deliver on their promises,” comments Investors Business Daily.
Yet President Obama’s worn-out list was greeted with praise from the mainstream media. NBC Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie cheered Obama as “displaying renewed swagger in his sixth address to the nation as he outlined a vision for the final two years of his presidency.”
The New York Times said that “It was hardly surprising that a president who expects so little from Congress devoted some of his speech to celebrating the things that he has accomplished against considerable odds.”
“In fact, he seemed so confident you would have thought he had just won another election,” asserted Jonathan Karl of ABC News.
President Obama’s comment that he has “no more campaigns to run” was greeted with applause and laughter, to which he retorted, “I know because I won both of them.”
Rather than pointing to how the 2014 election could be seen as a referendum on President Obama’s failed policies, Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s Today Show, asked Vice President Joe Biden whether he saw “that as a moment of disrespect? Was it a symptom of the very pettiness that the President was referring to?” He also salivated over a potential 2016 Biden presidential bid, asking, “You’re known as a guy who can work a room. Boy, are you good at that.