The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism released a report Oct. 5 that shows the media devoted scant time/space dealing with the recession's impact on average Americans.
The New York/Washington media focused instead on the political circus surrounding stories such as bank/auto bailouts and the economic stimulus package. Conflict over reality took the day. "Tea parties" received barrels of ink and millions of page views. Pew found only a fraction of coverage on struggling families dealing with job losses, dashed retirement plans, healthcare cut-offs, hunger, homelessness and now unreachable educational opportunities for their children.
Pew's findings offer a huge opportunity for President Obama to re-connect with the American people. By a landslide, Obama was Pew's No. 1 economic news maker. Much of that coverage was skewed toward Republican opposition to his plans. The president could make far better use of his star power by "Going Rogue" (a tip of the cap goes to author Sarah Palin). He should dismiss White House handlers who are passing out lab coats to doctors at staged White House events (another tip of the cap to Kevin Foley who penned a commentary today on odwyerpr.com about the lab coat PR fiasco) and hit the streets/roads/highways
The president would lose a bit of cool by hanging out with real victims of the economy. There's a question about whether Obama has the same one-on-one empathy enjoyed by a master like Bill Clinton. Obama doesn't strike one as a "I Feel Your Pain" type of guy. However, "Obama: A Man of the People” has a nice ring to it. Smart Republicans would rally to the President’s healthcare reform efforts if they saw him generate authentic grassroots support for reform.
The president should forget doctors and visit patients.