Media Meme: Public Cheers Obama’s Rightward Turn

There’s an emerging line in the corporate media that Obama’s recent bump in the polls is due to the perception that he’s shifting to the “center.” There’s a long record of media encouraging Democrats to move to the right; after the midterms, Wise Pundits were saying that Obama had to pull a Bill Clinton in order to get things back on track.

And now we see things like this from the Los Angeles Times (1/24/11):

After his party was dealt an electoral blow in November, Obama embraced a compromise that extended the President George W. Bush-era tax cuts, retooled his West Wing to include more moderate voices–such as his new chief of staff, William Daley–and made new overtures to the business community.

His polls have rebounded on the eve of his second State of the Union address, passing the 50 percent threshold in a series of major surveys.

And on ABC World News (1/23/11):

DAVID KERLEY: Even with high unemployment, President Obama is much higher in the polls than he was just weeks ago. His charm offensive with business, appointments of business-friendly staff and a productive lame duck session have put him on a roll…. Moving to the center, talking about cutting spending, creating jobs is working.

And on NBC Nightly News (1/22/11), pollster Charlie Cook declared:

We started seeing–starting a week or so after the election, we started seeing the president moving, reaching out, compromising, shifting over, reaching out to business, and the proof is in the–is in the polls.

SomehowI doubtthatthere is some unusual public fondness for William Daley, or a desire to see Wall Street and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce happier with the White House. The generally favorable reaction to Obama’s response to the Tucson tragedy would seem to be a likelier explanation for the current trend. But leave it to the media to chalk up any shift in the polls to Obama’s march to the “middle.”

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.