Jonah Goldberg

Even Obama's more recent embellishments about, for instance, being outspent and outgunned in his previous political races strike many people as the sorts of fibs that would create journalistic frenzies if uttered by a Republican.

And then there's the huge divergence between the president Obama said he would be and the president he's actually been. In 2008, Obama insisted that he was a unifier, a pragmatist and a non-ideologue. You don't have to be a birther or a secret-Muslim conspiracy theorist to feel like that was all a big con job. That's politics and not deceit (a subtle distinction!), but dismay at how Obama has governed doesn't amount to racial panic either. And blame for the widespread feeling that we were sold a bill of goods by a cheering press does, in fact, belong to the press.

Yes, Obama also signaled to his base that he intended to be a "transformative" president, a progressive Ronald Reagan. But that message was intended only for his base. Whenever conservatives picked up on those notes -- when he said he wanted to "spread the wealth around," etc. -- the immediate response from the Sunday talk show crowd was that conservatives were being paranoid for misreading Obama, the pragmatist.

It's fine to beat up on conspiracy theorists, but journalistic muckety-mucks who are mystified by their ever-shrinking credibility -- and profitability -- might wonder what they've done to fuel a climate of distrust. There's a reason why ABC's Jake Tapper is one of the few nonconservative reporters respected on the right: He's stayed as skeptical of Obama as he was of George W. Bush.

Meanwhile, it's fascinating how much attention the conspiracy theorists get. It's almost as if some journalists want to use them as bogeymen to discredit all criticism of Obama. That's some journalists, not all.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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