On Sunday's Reliable Sources, the CNN panel scoffed at the
media for getting "manipulated" by the White House last week into hyping
Obama's meetings with the GOP as a "charm offensive." CNN's own
reporting shows that it played right into those talking points.
"I love how easily the press corps is manipulated," remarked The Washington Post's Dana Milbank. "So, the President takes a few senators out to dinner at the Jefferson Hotel and has lunch with Paul Ryan, and suddenly, he's reaching out and there's all these efforts to have kumbaya. He's had two meals."
[Video below. Audio here.]
The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza added that "because the narrative moves so fast, the White House has the ability to change it overnight by having a couple of meals." He later re-affirmed that "I think a lot of it is just to change the press narrative."
Well if Obama's goal was to "change the press narrative," consider it
accomplished. CNN repeatedly called the meetings a "charm offensive"
from Thursday though Monday.
On no less than five different news hours on Thursday, CNN reported on Obama's "charm offensive." All three hours of Friday's The Situation Room featured the term, followed by four different news hours on Saturday and two shows on Sunday. On Monday morning's Newsroom, anchor Carol Costello wondered "Will the Obama charm offensive work?"
"The White House keeps singing a new tune with a focus on peace," chirped anchor Don Lemon on Thursday's 10 a.m. hour of Newsroom. "Today, President Obama's new charm offensive continues with a sit down meeting with Representatives Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland."
On Saturday's The Situation Room, Candy Crowley hyped that if the "charm offensive" was successful, it could help make Obama's presidency "transformational":
"I think what is to me is sort of brilliant about the charm offensive at this particular moment, is if the President can get a long-term deal out of this, then he is on his way to that kind of transformational presidency that he wanted."
"President Obama is pouring on the charm, at least what passes for
charm on Capitol Hill," anchor Carol Costello reported on Monday
morning's Newsroom before smacking Republicans for
"gamesmanship." She lamented, "What's not so charming is the
gamesmanship," as she reported Rep. Louie Gohmert's (R-Tex.) bill making
it illegal for Obama to play golf on the taxpayer's dollar.
"And while politicians bicker over dinner dates and golf, the full effects of those spending cuts are yet to come. But hope springs eternal, right? Talk back question today: Will the Obama charm offensive work?" she hoped.
"Now, this charm offensive by the President, we're getting new nuggets,
new details on almost on a daily basis right now. What's behind this?"
reported host Wolf Blitzer on Friday's The Situation Room.
Blitzer later asked former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich what he thought of Obama's "charm offensive," adding "You lived through a presidential charm offensive. And Bill Clinton, as president, you were speaker. He was always trying to charm you and he often succeeded, right?"
On Saturday's The Situation Room, correspondent Jim Acosta cast Obama's meetings as genuine gestures of bipartisanship:
"It's almost been Washington in black and white this week, a flashback to a bygone era, when Democrats and Republicans used to sit down and talk to each other and tried to solve the nation's problems. And the President was trying to do just that with this charm offensive, inviting the Republican senators, roughly a dozen of them, out to dinner at a fancy hotel here in Washington earlier this week. And then meeting with an old campaign rival, the former vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan for lunch at the White House on Thursday. He heads up to the Hill next week to do more of the same with the Republican and Democratic lawmakers from both the House and Senate."
Blitzer cheerleaded the "charm offensive" as "baby steps." After Acosta noted that "the Republicans just are not having it. So, it is going to take some more time. It is going to take more than a charm offensive," Blitzer added, "Yes. A few baby steps, but as you point out, they have a lot of work to do."
-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center