David Gregory’s Sunday interview with President Obama was typical of the softball, ineffective mainstream media encounters with the president we’ve been seeing. We can argue whether media personalities are bad at their job or intentionally inept, but the result is the same.

David Gregory (Susan Biddle/The Washington Post)

Here are the unasked questions that would have shed some light on the president’s record and intentions for 2013:

  • Why haven’t you put forward a concrete plan for Medicare reform?
  • Your fiscal cliff plan contains far more taxes and far less spending reductions than the Simpson-Bowles plan or other bipartisan proposals, so how does that meet the GOP “halfway” as you claim?
  • Why haven’t you and White House advisers gone through an accountability review process on Benghazi as the State Department did? Were you ever briefed on the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi? What were you doing during the attacks on our consulate? Why did you continue to tie the attacks to a demonstration over an anti-Muslim film after we established there was no demonstration and there was al-Qaeda involvement?
  • Was it a mistake to claim you had al-Qaeda on the run?
  • Your own defense secretary says the sequestration cuts would be devastating to national security, so how can you allow those to go forward?
  • Why did you up the ante on tax hikes in your negotiations with the speaker of the House in 2011 and let the debt ceiling deal slip away?
  • Did you break your promise to Elie Wiesel you would do everything possible to stop the mass atrocities in Syria? More than 38,000 are dead, and we have not done so much as set up a no-fly zone.
  • Why haven’t you put forth your own immigration plan, and will you do so in the second term?
  • How are you going to implement Obamacare without so many governors refusing to set up exchanges?
  • There is no evidence the 1994 assault weapons ban worked, so why do you favor imposing it again? 

These are just a small sample of the type of queries the president rarely faces. The notion that the media is a defender of the public’s “right to know” is belied by its refusal to press the president on the most important issues of the day. No wonder the president feels no obligation to be transparent or to take responsibility for serial policy failures.