Charlie's Rose Colored Glasses

During two recent interviews with Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, veteran PBS interviewer  Charlie Rose revealed just how blinded those at the highest levels of the "media-ocracy" have become to the harsh reality of Barack Obama's political foibles.

With just two brief questions, Charlie displays his utter bewilderment with the fact that someone as apparently bright and politically astute as Congressman Ryan could hold opinions of the President so diametrically opposed to his own.

In the first interview, two months prior to the 2010 election, Messrs. Rose and Ryan discussed Obama's failed plan to pull the country out of its economic malaise. 

From the 9/13/2010 transcripts:

CHARLIE ROSE:  OK, but are you prepared to spend money for stimulus in order to do something about unemployment? 

PAUL RYAN:  No, I don't subscribe to the typical Keynesian doctrine that you need to borrow and spend money to create jobs.  We borrowed and spend $1.1 trillion when you add interest costs on the stimulus and we've lost 2.6 million jobs since that legislation passed.  The administration said it would keep unemployment from hitting eight percent.  It is at a 9.6 right now.  That kind of short term stimulus doesn't work.  What we ought to do is get our basic macroeconomic fundamentals. 

CHARLIE ROSE:  Stimulus doesn't work? 

PAUL RYAN:  That kind of stimulus doesn't work. 

CHARLIE ROSE:  So they made the wrong choices about what to spend the money on, is that the idea?  Not on so-called infrastructure, I mean so called -
PAUL RYAN:  So you always get some kind of, I call it a sugar rush in an economy if you throw a lot of money in the economy in the short run.  What matters most is you get your basic macroeconomic fundamentals on the right track.  Right now they are on the wrong track. 

Actually listening to the interview helps to better comprehend the level of incredulity in Charlie's voice when he asks the question: "Stimulus doesn't work?"  It's as if he's never even considered this point prior to Rep. Ryan's factual response, despite the lack of any tangible evidence to the contrary.

The second interview, conducted two weeks after the House was flipped, focused more on Obama's character and diminished leadership stature. 

From the 11/15/2010 transcripts:

PAUL RYAN:  It will.  If he is thinking 2012, he's thinking more contrast.  He's thinking -- here's the problem that -- most of us don't know the President very well so I always try to keep an open mind on these things as to what the approach of a person is going to be. But when he calls us "enemies," when he uses demagogic political rhetoric in the campaigns -- you have to remember the campaign rhetoric in 2008 was very different than the campaign rhetoric in 2010.  In 2010 it gives us the impression that we're seen as enemies.  He goes to our districts and says Republicans want the economy to fail so he fails politically.  I mean, that kind of talk, all these straw men and counterfactual arguments
does not make it easy to cooperate and come together on the big issues of the day. 

CHARLIE ROSE:  Well, you'll grant me that's happened on both sides.

PAUL RYAN:  Absolutely.  I will grant you that.  We don't have halos over our head either on this stuff.  I think the big question of the day, though, is what is the vision for the country?  And I do believe that the president is a fairly ideological guy.  And I think his ideology --

CHARLIE ROSE:  Even though his friends and colleagues say he's essentially a pragmatic centrist? 

PAUL RYAN:  His rhetoric doesn't show that.  His policies don't show that.  And his policies are in place right now.  So I don't see that.  Plus, they're reelecting the same Congressional leadership that they had in the last two years.  So it's difficult to see a strong course correction. 

CHARLIE ROSE:  And you think the president wants to reinvent the country to something else? 

PAUL RYAN:  I think he's a liberal progressivist.  I'm not saying that in a mean way.  I just think that's what he is and I think that's what he believes the government ought to be more active --

CHARLIE ROSE:  Is that you believe most of the Democratic Party is? 

PAUL RYAN:  Well, after this last election I think a lot of the centrists lost, and so a lot of the remaining Democrats in Congress are more of that mindset. 

So, now Charlie has an issue with Rep. Ryan's assertion that Obama is a liberal ideologue because "his friends and colleagues say he's essentially a pragmatic centrist?" 

Say what?  Charlie, did you graduate from Duke Law or the School of Unbridled Naïveté.  Seriously now, are you really saying that you've developed your understanding of his political philosophy based on what his friends say?  That's like taking Joseph Goebbel's word that Hitler was basically a moderate for crying out loud.  Nice bit of investigative journalism there, eh Chuck?

This lack of intellectual curiosity and journalistic integrity goes a long way in explaining this gem from Charlie's now infamous interview with Tom Brokaw on the eve of the 2008 election.  Starting at 38:00, Charlie goes so far as to say that at that late point in the campaign, October 30, 2008,  he still didn't know much about where Obama stood on any number of crucial issues.  

Great time to divulge that bit of unflattering information.  I mean really, who cared if PBS's go to journalist didn't know a damn thing about the soon to be President-elect?

Two years hence and still the same shortsightedness.  I do believe its time to take off the glasses Charlie.