Everybody Loves a Good Manufactured Outrage - Macleans.ca

Everybody Loves a Good Manufactured Outrage



Last night President Obama was on Jay Leno, normal enough for a candidate but unusual (if not unprecedented) for a President, and when Jay Leno mock-complimented him on his higher (but still low) bowling score, Obama said: “It’s like the special Olympics or something.”

The line was immediately picked up by commentators, was walked back by a Presidential spokesman, prompted a Presidential apology, and became a top blog issue within the hour. The internet and the 24-hour news cycle have turned word-parsing into a science, but it’s also become, in a strange way, a “scoop.” Jake Tapper, who “broke” this story on his ABC News blog, is basically obsessed with turning up mis-statements or gaffes that others have ignored; he’s ABC’s Senior Trivia Correspondent. In this case, the story may get even more play because it fits into an emerging media narrative, that Obama can’t say anything right without a teleprompter. Gaffes get more play when they fit an overall narrative.

I have to admit I’m not terribly outraged by the manufactured outrage machine in this case. Powerful political figures do need to watch what they say and choose their words carefully. It’s a different matter when someone says something that is not stupid but is then wilfully misinterpreted to mean something else, like Al Gore with his internet comments (he never said he invented the internet, but a whole media narrative was created around the idea that he did). But this is just standard-issue stuff where somebody makes a poor choice of words, it becomes a 24-hour story and is then forgotten. Besides, I suspect that politicians don’t always mind this kind of outrage, since it creates a distraction from the genuinely controversial or embarrassing things they say. So Obama probably considers himself lucky that he’s getting more outrage over that than his statement that Tim Geithner is doing an outstanding job.


Everybody Loves a Good Manufactured Outrage

  1. Liberal intelligentsia/msm would be going nuts at the moment if it was Bush cracking wise about special olympics but since it was Obama, a liberal and we all know libs can’t be racist or bigots or anything bad for that matter, we get these mealy mouthed posts about manufactured outrage.

    • “if it was Bush…”

      You would be defending Bush.

      • I am happy for both Bush and Obama to crack wise about special olympics because I know they are harmless jokes that many of us make all the time. What I am tired of is lib msm and the manufactured outrage that would have occurred if Bush made this joke but we get apologists tripping over themselves to explain the joke away because Obama said it. It would be nice if people, no matter their political affiliation, were treated the same way.

        • I don’t know jwl, it was a stupid joke and Obama seems to be getting raked over the coals for it. Anyways… coffee is ready.

        • jwl you cannot be serious. If Bush got through a speech that was moderately coherent he got rave reviews!

          Also there is a big difference in the treatment for someone who says “I was wrong” or “I made a mistake.”

          Your man took 5 @#$%ing years before he admitted that, in fact, the mission was not yet accomplished, despite what the banner said.

    • Manufactured outrage over how hypothetical manufactured outrage would be more manufactured (and outrageous) than actual manufactured outrage that occurred.

      (This post plays no role in this recursion; it’s manufactured bemusement, thank you very much.)

  2. Haha that’s pretty bad though. I wasn’t offended personally, but my sensors that tell me when society thinks I should be offended registered off the charts.

  3. If anything, this will harm Obama’s reputation as a good speaker.

    Letterman and others made fun of Bush’s grammatical gaffes all the time.

  4. Can even a President have a day off? President Obama just answered an off the cuff comments and now the world is moaning! I think that the media and the broadcasting «elite-only in their minds» should just shut-up! That`s probably too much to ask!

    President Obama has a very hard road ahead and all this denigrating him is not helping him at all. I would have like to have seen those so call «elite reporter» on their first 50 days on the job and they only have to use paper and pencil and take pot shot at people!

    • too much over too little,get a grip

  5. Dear Mr. Weinman

    President Obama’s comments were offensive to those of us who are trying to bring greater understanding and respect to people who have developmental disabilities. I was not outraged but saddend. His immediate apology was important and hopefully the whole matter will bring how we talk about people with developmental disabilities to the fore front. That you think this is a manufactured outrage is indicitive of your attitude of people with disabilities or you lack of understanding of the years of struggle to achieve respect and rights by this community. I ask you to research this issue as the last of the institutions in ontario close.

  6. Frankly, I think Hussein Obama is an incompetent. After all the noise the collectivist world made about his ‘experience’ as a community organizer, it seems the type of nonsense he get involved for free, and I am not talking strictly about his mention of the Special Olympics, which of course, it is not a matter of what he always say without thinking, but of the fact that insofar, he has made every possible attempt to show himself as someone that disregard life and human nature and so, when he ventures a comment on the ‘limitations’ of the Special Olympic participants, ist becomes difficult not to relate it to his love for killing babies and the innocent altogether.
    There are and will be many other episodes and you will be always ready to excuse or defend the character you fabricated and privately wonder if two years will be long enough to cope with this guy… It is a tragedy for humanity and not just the USA.

  7. I watched Jay Leno Thursday night with President Obama. I was thrilled to see P. Obama make himself so available to the people of North America and beyond.
    I love him…………he is so much like “the boy-next-door”, down-to-earth and likeable! Not to mention that he is an extremely intelligent man and I feel he is going to do miraculous things for the United States of America!
    As for his comment re: bowling score……….excuse me but I missed it!
    Signed: A white, Canadian Anglophone