The Associated Press was set up by a group of American newspapers 160 years ago as a way to exchange news. As it grew, it provided eyes and ears in faraway places, sparing member publications the expense of maintaining bureaus of their own. But the agency has changed over the years. I have often heard editors in other countries grumble about the AP’s pro-American treatment of international issues, and when I was involved in starting a Jamaican newspaper back in the Seventies, we went to the expense of subscribing to Agence France-Presse in an attempt to provide a balanced view of the world.
So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at slanted AP articles. But I wonder why it so often slants its commentary against the Obama Administration.
An article today, written by someone named Liz Sidoti (photo at right), crosses the line from analysis into political pleading. And it does so in the most unfair way. I don’t know anything about Ms. Sidoti (Googling her didn’t help much), and I don’t think she has anything personally against President Obama. It may be that she is being pressured by her editor to avoid the appearance of being under the charismatic President’s spell. Indeed, I noticed that one critic accused her of “lowering expectations” for President Obama (as a defense in case he fails) in one of her previous articles, so today’s piece might be her way of atoning for that sin.
Whatever her motives, the young woman made herself look rather silly.
“Obama swept into office with promises of uniting the parties,” the Yahoo tease to the Sidoti article stated. “But has he really tried to bridge the gap?”
Oh, come on! If Ms. Sidoti can’t see how hard the new President is trying to “bridge the gap,” she must not be looking. He has gone too far in that direction as far as I am concerned. With their pig-headed obstructionism, Republicans have won the nickname of “the party of no.” Yet he still tries to include them in shaping policies to benefit the American people and end the deep economic recession.
The Republican Party has dug in its heels, and no decent President would adopt the policies they propose. They defend torture. They want more tax breaks for the rich; fewer social programs for the rest of us. They criticize the President for being polite to foreign heads of state and urge a continuation of the bullying tactics that earned George Bush the world’s opprobrium. They unreasonably try to block the confirmation of qualified Obama nominees. And they vote no on every proposal to revive the economy.
I would be horrified if President Obama were to accept any of the Republicans’ proposals or pursue any of their failed policies. Ms. Sidoti complains that the President is prepared to push through his policies even without Republican support.
“While preaching bipartisanship and civility in his first months,” she writes. “Obama also has shown a willingness to push his priorities through Congress over Republican opposition, as with the $787 billion economic stimulus plan.”
That’s just fine with me. American voters resoundingly rejected the Republicans’ policies, and I am sure the country is now looking to the new President for new and improved leadership.