A Presidential blunder

Just in case it was missed, President Obama appeared on The Tonight Show last night to discuss the economy. While bantering with Jay Leno, they talked about how the President was making use of the White House bowling alley. President Obama said this:

The controversy is about the comment towards the end, when he called his poor bowling (a 129) “like the Special Olympics.” I’m pretty sure most people have themselves compared a poor athletic performance to the Special Olympics, or at least know someone who has. So the level of offense taken to the Presidents comments is something I thought the blogs would reflect. I was wrong.

Instead of a debate on whether or not the Special Olympics remark was offensive, what is reflected is more (predictable) partisanship. Liberal blogs Firedoglake and DailyKos made absolutely no mention of it, while the Huffington Post had a post from Jason Linkins who called the remark “ill-advised” but spent the bulk of his post with a commentary on what the President said about banks (you know, the actual news of the issue).

On the conservative side, the story is a big hit. The Drudge Report had the ABC News story on it as the lead story link, with several follow-up links about the issue. Conservative blogs Hot Air, Big Hollywood and Powerline all weigh in with responses ranging from snarky to indignant. These were not the only responses to the gaffe, however, but to list all of the conservative blogs lining up to take their shots at the President would take all day.

So what do we learn from this? I would argue that this is another case of blogs being little more than opinion sounding boards: places for people to weigh on on the topic. But what could be interesting to see is if this story makes any newsprint tomorrow. Perhaps because the show aired after most papers had gone to print or perhaps because it’s not that big of a deal in the eyes of editors, this story didn’t make the paper today (from what I saw).

As these blogs kick the story around, they have the potential to keep it in the public light. If they do influence tomorrow’s paper, they will have done more than just act as sounding boards. So this blog will wait and see.


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