President Obama lectured the news media on how to do their job, at the Syracuse University Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting event.
"The electorate would be better served if we didn’t focus so much on the he said-she said back and forth of our politics, because, while fairness is the hallmark of good journalism, a false equivalency all too often these days can be a fatal flaw. If I say the world is round and someone else says its flat, that’s worth reporting. But you might also want to report on a bunch of scientific evidence that seems to support that the world is round. That shouldn’t be buried in paragraph five or six of the article.”
The President said the news media “asked me really tough questions" when he was campaigning for the presidency, but now, the candidates are not getting the tough questions.
Instead he wants the media to “invest a good chunk of that profit back into news, in public affairs and to maintain certain standards and to not dumb down the news.”
“There is enormous pressure on journalists to fill the void and feed the beast with instant commentary and twitter rumors and celebrity gossip and softer stories,” the president said. “Then we fail to understand our world and understand one another as well as we should.”
"When our election campaigns and our political candidates become completely untethered from facts and analysis, when it doesn’t matter what’s true and what’s not, that makes it all but impossible for us to make good decisions for future generations,” Obama said.
The president complained about some of the media coverage he has received.
“Well, some of the things that were shaped may not fully reflect all of the nuance of my thoughts of the particular topic that President Putin was mentioning. But I pointed out to him, of course, that ‘unlike you Vladimir, I don’t get to edit the piece before it’s published.’”