Anson Dorrance, the famed University of North Carolina women’s soccer coach, once said that there was a key difference between coaching men and women athletes. When you go into the locker room, he said, and chew out the men’s team for mistakes, every guy there looks around to those who he thinks were the culprits. It never occurs to him that he could be the problem. A woman internalizes the criticism and thinks the coach is specifically talking about her.
So it is with reporters, I thought, as I read Jonathan Martin’s story about Obama being a media critic. Martin assumes he’s talking only about cable news. That’s particularly ironic, given that Martin’s employer, Politico, focuses exclusively on the to and fro of political grenades.
The irony aside, I welcome another article about Obama doing just what many of us hoped he would: attack the media.
“It feels like WWF wrestling,” Obama explained to NBC’s Brian Williams in an interview. “You know, everybody’s got their role to play.”
The off-the-cuff characterization was in keeping with his newly emerging role, squeezed in between East Room ceremonies and pushing for health care reform: the commander in chief is becoming the nation’s media critic in chief.
While Martin spends much of the article pointing out examples of Obama’s frustration with cable news, one thing Martin is blind to: Many news outlets, including Politico, let cable gabfests drive their news agenda.