Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd says President Obama was making it “clear” at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner over the weekend how he feels about the rise of Internet news sites like Politico, Buzzfeed and … well, WND.
“He hates it.”
Appearing on “Meet the Press” Sunday morning following Saturday night’s media, politics and celebrity soiree, Todd explained the president’s disdain for independent online news sources was showing during his speech.
“It did seem … I thought his pot shots, joke-wise, and then the serious stuff about the Internet, the rise of the Internet media and social media and all that stuff – he hates it, OK? He hates this part of the media,” Todd said. “He really thinks that the, sort of, the buzzification – this isn’t just about Buzzfeed or Politico and all this stuff – he thinks that sort of coverage of political media has hurt political discourse. He hates it. And I think he was just trying to make that clear last night.”
In fact, Obama took several opportunities during the speech to mock Internet news sites for exploring stories the mainstream media largely joined the president in laughing off – including hard questions about his faith, economic philosophy and agenda.
“Look I get it,” Obama joked. “These days I look in the mirror, and I have to admit I’m not the strapping, young, Muslim socialist that I used to be.”
Obama poked fun at speculation that a White House-released photograph of him skeet-shooting was altered and at the Internet site Buzzfeed, suggesting “buzz feed” used to mean something he did “at 2 a.m.” during his college days.
Obama also took a shot at so-called “birthers,” those who question Obama’s birthplace or eligibility to be president, but whose concerns were routinely dismissed by the mainstream media.
“I’m also hard at work on plans for the Obama library, and some have suggested we put it in my birthplace,” Obama joked, “but I’d rather keep it in the United States.”
Yet Todd explained it wasn’t only the mocking jokes that revealed the president’s disdain for online media, but also the serious tone at the end of Obama’s speech.
“I wonder how many people realized at the end, when he did his, you know, there’s always this part at the end where they get serious for a minute,” Todd said. “And it’s usually the part where presidents say, ‘You know, I think the press has a good job to do, and I understand what they have to do.” He didn’t say that. He wasn’t very complimentary of the press. You know, ‘We all can do better.’”
In fact, after announcing he wanted to “close on a more serious note,” Obama praised traditional newspapers like the Boston Globe in its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, then segued into a lecture to the media at large.
“We can do better,” Obama said. “Those of us in public office, those of us in the press, those who produce entertainment for our kids, those with power, those with influence, all of us, including myself, we can strive to value those things that I suspect led most of us to do the work we do in the first place, because we believed in something that was true, and we believed in service and the idea that we can have a lasting, positive impact on the lives of the people around us.”