No matter how many times it is disproved, members of the Obama administration and the liberal media continue to claim that President Barack Obama has overseen a scandal-free executive branch during his two terms in office. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fast & Furious, the IRS targeting scandal, Benghazi, and the Veterans Administration scandal are but a taste of President Obama’s scandal-ridden leadership.
The latest in the voices declaring Obama scandal-free is senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, who said recently on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” that “The President prides himself on the fact that his administration hasn’t had a scandal and that he hasn’t done something to embarrass himself. But that’s not because he’s being someone other than who he is. That’s because that’s who he is, that’s who they are, and I think that’s what really resonates with the American people.” A fawning Zakaria also asked Jarrett about Obama’s “cool,” “discipline,” and “dignity” on his January 1 show, which was entitled “Voices From the Obama Years.” “Over the last few months, we have had extraordinary access to the White House, to officials current and former. It was all for a documentary about President Obama’s legacy,” said Zakaria.
With President Obama set to step down this month and give way to soon-to-be President Donald Trump, the media are even more eager to contrast the current President with his already demonized successor.
As we have reported, both token New York Times conservative David Brooks and former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod have also claimed that Obama’s tenure has been scandal-free. While this assertion is pure fiction, it continues nonetheless. It is a convenient way of dismissing, if not covering up, Obama’s dishonesty, incompetence and corruption. The perpetuation of this lie demonstrates that the media and the Obama administration are living in a reality constructed entirely by themselves, one that ignores any information that might damage Obama’s legacy.
A key counterpart to the elevation of Obama is the necessary criticism of his successor. Thus, the Times’ Paul Krugman writes in his recent column that Trump is bringing America down to “stan” status, a third-world country label which indicates a runaway personality cult and despotism by rich elites. “But cults of personality are actually the norm in the ‘stans,’ the Central Asian countries that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, all of which are ruled by strongmen who surround themselves with tiny cliques of wealthy crony capitalists,” Krugman writes.
While Krugman is busy attacking what he perceives as Trump’s cult of personality, he may have forgotten that in 2008 he himself accused candidate Barack Obama of the same thing: “I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We’ve already had that from the Bush administration—remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don’t want to go there again.” At the time Krugman was clearly supporting Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, so his venom was aimed at Obama.
He wrote in that column that it was “particularly saddening” how “many Obama supporters seem happy with the application of ‘Clinton rules’—the term a number of observers use for the way pundits and some news organizations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.” By that definition, it is clear that Krugman and the Times, as well as most of the liberal media, seem happy with the application of “Trump rules.” Of course they would argue that in Trump’s case, those rules are justified.
So Krugman has portrayed President George W. Bush, President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump as each fostering cults of personality. America, under that rubric, isn’t descending to Third World status—it is simply getting more of the same. After all, Obama is the one with a celebrated iconic portrait, who is worshiped by Hollywood and the inane arbiters of pop culture, nearly all of whom have refused to be associated in any way with anything related to Trump.
Speaking of cult of personality, incredibly, the Obama administration has inserted favorable mentions of their Dear Leader in 12 of the last 14 biographies of former presidents on the White House website, going back to Calvin Coolidge. That is something no other president has had the audacity to do. For example, President Jimmy Carter’s biography includes a paragraph at the bottom which states, “In 1977, President Jimmy Carter created the Department of Energy; today the DOE works with the Obama Administration to drive towards innovation in energy and reducing reliance on foreign oil with an ‘all of the above’ approach.”
If you attend the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., you will see, in the area focusing on First Ladies, a larger than life photo of President Obama with First Lady Michelle. No other president rates a photo of any size in that room.
But the real difference between the media treatment of these recent presidencies is that President Obama is the only President receiving fawning, constant press coverage that ignores his faults and celebrates his enduring legacy items, such as Obamacare and the Iran deal. As we have written, both of those initiatives are debacles—and the Iran Deal isn’t even signed—yet the press continues to publish articles praising those policies as signature achievements.
The difference is, Obama is a Democrat, and the corrupt Democrat-Media complex works hard to only celebrate the left’s victories.
“How could this happen in a nation that has long prided itself as a role model for democracies everywhere?” asks Krugman in his column, continuing, “In a direct sense, Mr. Trump’s elevation was made possible by the F.B.I.’s blatant intervention in the election, Russian subversion, and the supine news media that obligingly played up fake scandals while burying real ones on the back pages.”
Actually, as we have reported, the media have consistently downplayed the national security scandal that was Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. The press focused on the problems with Trump University, yet they ignored the scandal of the Clinton-linked Laureate Education. While the Clintons’ pay-for-play using the Clinton Foundation during Hillary’s time as secretary of state received some early press coverage, it was not pursued with the same passion as uncovering Trump’s faults.
Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid has outlined why allegations of Russian interference in the election may be baseless. Yet story after story express outrage and disbelief that Trump won’t acknowledge that the Russians, as they see it, handed him the election, so sure are these journalists of the supposed consensus among the intelligence agencies. We’ve seen time after time that the Obama administration has politicized intelligence to fit their narrative. Why not this time?
“Remember, the Clinton administration was besieged by constant accusations of corruption, dutifully hyped as major stories by the news media,” writes Krugman, asserting that “not one of these alleged scandals turned out to involve any actual wrongdoing.” (emphasis added). As Accuracy in Media has outlined in the special report, “The Hillary Clinton File,” and its documentary, “The Clinton Legacy,” investigations into the corruption of the Clintons reach back to President Bill Clinton’s term as president in the 1990s, and reveal serious, even criminal wrongdoing.
The Clintons have been demonstrably corrupt for decades, and President Obama has experienced one scandal after another. But don’t expect the mainstream media to report the truth—they are too invested in supporting politicians who further the left’s agenda.
Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi.