Bill O’Reilly and Bernard Goldberg last night caught NBC’s David Gregory in a massive yet subtle moment of pro-Obama bias. It came on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” Here’s what Gregory said in a preface to an interview question:
Presidents can really affect foreign policy. Those are where the leadership moments are made. He can’t do a whole lot about the economy right now, but he can certainly make a case about leadership around the world.
Now that’s clear favoritism for the president. To say there’s not a “whole lot” that Obama can do about the economy — that’s tantamount to excusing any missteps, any misguided economic policies since the president took office in January 2009. At least in the O’Reilly-Goldberg world.
If Gregory portrays an economically helpless Obama, Goldberg, in the O’Reilly segment, portrays an economically empowered Obama. Here’s how Goldberg put it:
David Gregory goes on [TV] ... and says Barack Obama ... he can’t do a whole lot about the economy right now. Well, that’s not true. He can. He can change energy policy which would produce hundreds of thousands of jobs. He can stop bashing business. He can tell people to cut back on their ridiculous rules and regulations that stifle growth.
Of those three ideas, the one with the greatest promise is that Obama “stop bashing business.” That simple step would do wonders to ease the foreclosure crisis, pump new dollars into the economy, get businesses hiring again, and set us on a new course of post-war economic expansion. Presidential business-bashing is just killing us.
Preposterous stuff. What Gregory was citing — and what O’Reilly and Goldberg refuse, somehow, to acknowledge — is a sophomore-in-high-school civics lesson: The president of the United States doesn’t run the economy. The chairman of the Federal Reserve Board lords over monetary policy, ever seeking ways to grow the economy without causing inflation. As far as fiscal policy goes — taxes and government spending, that is — the president merely partners with Congress. And “partner” in these contentious times is a generous descriptor.
So maybe those basic facts of American governance were what Gregory was citing when he said that the president couldn’t do a “whole lot” about the economy. Goldberg, however, heard something different. Those words, he said, are “how subtle bias works. That’s how it will work in the future.”