In a stunning rebuke of the media’s coverage of the presidential race to date, President Barack Obama told the media to knock off trolling for ratings and clicks with emphasis on the “circus,” because it is dangerous for the country.
“What I’m concerned about is the degree to which reporting and information starts emphasizing the spectacle and the circus, because that’s not something we can afford in this election cycle,” Obama said when asked for his reaction to Donald Trump having become the presumptive GOP nominee. “The American people, they’ve got good judgment, they’ve got good instincts — as long as they get good information,” he scolded to the press during a White House press briefing.
And yet, Obama was asked what were his thoughts on Trump’s Cinco de Mayo tweet in which he proclaimed his love for Hispanics while seated with a taco bowl from a Trump Tower eatery. “As a general rule, I don’t pay attention to Mr. Trump’s tweets,” Obama responded, exercising enormous restraint under the circumstances.
With respect to the GOP process and Trump, “there is still “plenty of time” to talk about the real estate mogul-turned-reality-TV star’s positions on various issues, Obama lectured. “He has a long record that needs to be examined. It’s important to take seriously the statements he’s made in the past.
“But, most importantly, and I speak to all of you in this room as reporters… I want to emphasize the degree to which we are in serious times and this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the Presidency of the United States…Every candidate, every nominee needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny. You have got to make sure that their budgets add up, if the way they’ve got an answer to a problem is actually plausible, that they have details for how it would work. And, if it’s completely implausible and would not work, that needs to be reported on. The American people need to know that. If they take a position on international issues that could threaten war, or has the potential of upending our critical relationships with other countries, or would potentially break the financial system, that needs to be reported on.”
The media needs to get more serious about fulfilling their responsibility to make sure voters are “effectively informed about where candidates stand on the issues, making sure that their numbers adds up, making sure their policies have been vetted, and that candidates are held to what they have said in the past,” Obama continued. “If that happens, then I’m confident our democracy will work – and that’s true whether we’re talking about Mr. Trump, or Ms. Clinton, or Bernie Sanders, or anybody else.”