Politico Editor Touts Obama 'Integrity,' Administration Never 'Marred by Ethical Scandals'

“Objective” journalists have a bad habit of declaring against all evidence that President Obama has been “scandal-free” since 2009. Forget the Fast and Furious mess, the Solyndra bankruptcy, the IRS chicanery, the “efficiency” of the VA and Healthcare.gov, foreign messes exacerbated by lying (Benghazi) – nothing can possibly mar Obama’s “integrity” in the eyes of the liberal media.

This was demonstrated again Sunday night on the C-SPAN interview program Q&A with Brian Lamb. The guests were married journalists: Politico editor Susan Glasser and New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker. Lamb asked about Obama’s place in history, and he received the usual gunk:

BRIAN LAMB: In Politico magazine, you did a big, huge magazine piece on the Obama adminstration What do you think history will say about the Obama administration 50 years from now?     

SUSAN GLASSER: You know that’s the famous question – you know, remember President Obama said to David Remnick in The New Yorker, you know – “I just want to get my paragraph right”....Look, we all know the first part of that paragraph. We know that. It’s going to say ‘He broke barriers, he made history by becoming the first African-American president of the United States. I think that furthermore, he not only was the first black president, he was a two-term president. This has been an administration that has not been marred by ethical scandals, or you know, any kind of cloud over the president, personally and his judgment and decisions, broadly speaking. In other words, he’s going to be judged as someone with integrity, more or less, by history.

By contrast, Glasser suggested “We’re still fiercely debating” their strategies on Obamacare and his “record in the world,” like how the Iran deal would look.

Just before this question, Glasser’s husband, Peter Baker of The New York Times, had mildly criticized Obama for not speaking more on the record to the White House press corps. Brian Lamb had asked about a controversy in 2014 when Baker reported what he found out what Obama said in an off-the-record meeting with journalists. Baker refuses to attend off-the-record briefings, although he acknowledged there are informal chats off the record on plane rides that he can’t exactly escape:

PETER BAKER: If the president gave interviews to the White House press who cover him day in and day out with any kind of frequency – took our questions in a way his predecessors did, which he doesn’t do – That would be one thing, and you could see the supplement of an off-the-record [briefing] from time to time to share additional insights, but the problem is it’s become a substitute for that, in which he doesn’t interact with the White House press who cover him day in and day out on a regular-enough basis on the record.

Glasser also reasserted the classic Lesley Stahl-esque insider complaints that the liberal media used to be just  “the media,” which everyone was supposed to see as objective, and now it’s a blur of red media and blue media, and Politico and the New York Times aren’t really the liberal media, but somewhere in the middle as “dwindling islands” of “public space” for independent, somehow non-ideological thought:

GLASSER: One of the very regrettable things in Washington is as it’s become a more partisan atmosphere, the media has also become more partisan, part of the fragmenting. You know, we used to have the three networks, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal as our kind of national newspapers.

Now we have millions of different platforms, a commingling of opinions and ideas, and certainly much more division between kind of a red America and the media that it likes, and a blue America and the media that it likes, and I think one of the great things about the New York Times, one of the things that attracted me to Politico was that they’re dwindling islands of public space in which both sides have to contend. And that that independence of our journalism inquiry is really, really valuable at a time when it is fading fast from many other platforms.

Claiming the Obama administration is pretty much "scandal-free" is not a plausibly nonpartisan statement on a "dwindling island" of "public space" like C-SPAN. It's a partisan claim that isn't backed up by evidence. Only partisans claim there's never, ever been a notable Obama scandal for historians to investigate.

[Hat tip: Sean M.]

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis