While President Barack Obama’s five wall-to-wall appearances on the Sunday morning network news shows were designed to focus (again) on health care reform, he had some comments on “catnip to media” and that he wasn’t following developments on ACORN, the community organizing group, observes Grumpy Editor.
A round of network interviews --- unprecedented for a sitting president --- was taped in the White House on Friday, allowing about 15 minutes each to ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press, CNN's State of the Union and Spanish-language Univision.
Along with the main thrust on health care, the president also answered questions relating to Afghanistan, H1N1 (swine) flu, the CIA, Chicago White Sox, among others.
With the media in mind, Obama told David Gregory on Meet the Press, “What gets you on the (TV) news is controversy.”
The president amplified that for Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation: “Part of what’s different today is that the 24-hour news cycle and cable television and blogs and all this, they focus on the most extreme elements on both sides. They can’t get enough of conflict. It’s catnip to the media right now.”
To George Stephanopoulos on This Week, he added: “Sometimes I think that, frankly, the media encourages some of the outliers in behavior, because, let's face it, the easiest way to get on television right now is to be really rude. If you're just being sensible and giving people the benefit of the doubt and you're making your arguments, you don't --- you don't get --- time on the nightly news."
Stephanopoulos had a question relating to ACORN. Interestingly, despite the organization being in the news during the past week from undercover videos that surfaced on TV and action by the Senate (four days prior to the interview) to withhold funds to the group, Obama told a surprised Stephanopoulos: “Frankly, it’s not really something I’ve followed closely. I didn’t even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money.”
Meanwhile, grabbing more time before TV cameras, Obama tonight --- as the sole guest --- visits David Letterman’s Late Show on CBS.