After months of winging that the so-called liberal media is giving President Obama a pass, Fox News is dancing a tentative happy dance over the highly negative “Hit the Road, Barack: Why we Need a New President” cover story in Newsweek by columnist and Harvard/Oxford professor Niall Ferguson. Both Ferguson and Byron York of the Washington Examiner, appeared on On the Record last night to speculate about whether the article might be the beginning of a backlash against Obama in the mainstream media.
Ferguson doesn't exactly represent the “liberal media;” he’s a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution and a former advisor to John McCain. He’d written the article, he told Greta Van Susteren, because “I don't really hear the right questions being asked of the president about his record over the past four years…. Number one, is the president an effective leader in Washington? Has he led effectively on the domestic policies of the day? And two, is he an effective commander-in-chief?” Well, he was neither, according to Ferguson’s article, which criticizes him for
- his failure to turn around the economy as promised,
- his inadequate health care bill
- his abdicating responsibility to his allies in Congress (like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) and his economic experts to get his agenda through, and
- his foreign policy shortcomings, like failing to anticipate the Arab spring – which are paving the way for America’s decline as a world power.
Hmmm. No mention of Obama’s commie socialism or his anti-colonialist rage, or eating dogs, or being born in Kenya? This is pretty tame stuff for the rabid Fox crowd, gentle reader. It was too tame, for example, for Dinesh D’Souza, who told Laura Ingraham last night that “The premise [of Ferguson’s article] is that Obama is a bungler, he's an amateur. See I don't think that's it all, I think that Obama actually has a very different goal for America than we often think. He wants to redistribute money away from America and toward the rest of the world. .. He wants America to have a smaller footprint in the world and specifically in the Middle East….Now this is not because he hates America or he's a traitor or any of that stuff. It’s because he subscribes to an ideology.”
Will other media outlets step up their criticism of Obama? Van Susteren asked Byron York, political columnist for the conservative Washington Examiner. I don’t think he really answered that one, though he delivered this doozy: “Well, I think the striking thing about the story is it does come from Niall Ferguson, who's kind of a member of this global, glamorous elite, people who are at home in London, they're at home in New York. And it's very fashionable among most of them to support President Obama. So for someone to come out and give an across-the-board denunciation of the Obama presidency …I think, of his stature was pretty unusual.” (Really? Is it so unusual for a eddicated pursun to be speaking out against Obama? That’s a negative stereotype of your own supporters if I ever heard one.)
PS: a number of critics (none of them from Fox News) have accused Ferguson of getting his facts very wrong in the Newsweek article. Here's an extensive rebuttal from the Atlantic. (H/T FrankC).