Feature

The White House's problem with liberal bloggers

The angry reaction to a report that the Obama administration sees critics as part of the 'Internet left fringe'

"The Obama administration really needs to get over itself," said John Nichols in The Nation. First the White House goes after conservative Fox News, and now an anonymous administration aide "attacks bloggers for failing to maintain a sufficiently pro-Obama slant," telling critical liberal bloggers to "take off their pajamas," get dressed, and get serious about politics. All presidents get critical coverage—if Obama wants more compliments he'll have to earn them, not bully bloggers into line.

It's unfair to fault Obama,  said Greg Sargent in The Plum Line, based on "paraphrased secondhand claims from a single anonymous advisor" in a report by CNBC's John Harwood (Watch). The White House is strongly denying that it views "gay and blogospheric" impatience with Obama's "foot-dragging on gay-rights issues as part of the 'Internet left fringe.'" The White House has always treated the blogosphere as important—so maybe angry liberal bloggers should take a deep breath and relax.

The "Internet left fringe" remarks are a "nonstory," said Nate Silver in Fivethirtyeight.com, but so are Obama's promises to his liberal supporters. Repeating them now, as Obama did with his vow on Saturday to make gay-rights progress, may do the White House "more harm than good" unless the president can start backing up his words with actions.

The friction between President Obama and the "reality-based community" is real, said Dan Riehl in Riehl World View, and it was inevitable. The media built up the liberal blogosphere, and so did Obama, but we've been telling those crackpots "they represent the fringe Left for years." Obama "played them," and now they're on to him—the infighting is just beginning.

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