In an interview with The New Republic, President Obama blamed right wing media for the polarized climate in Washington D.C. According to Obama, right wing media outlets such as Fox News, and pundits such as radio host Rush Limbaugh, are to blame for the lack of compromise in Washington D.C.
President Obama said Speaker Boehner wanted to reach an agreement with him during the fiscal cliff negotiation, but Boehner felt it would make him vulnerable to attacks from members of his caucus on the right.
Here’s what Obama said:
I think if you talk privately to Democrats and Republicans, particularly those who have been around for a while, they long for the days when they could socialize and introduce bipartisan legislation and feel productive. So I don’t think the issue is whether or not there are people of goodwill in either party that want to get something done. I think what we really have to do is change some of the incentive structures so that people feel liberated to pursue some common ground.
One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.
I think John Boehner genuinely wanted to get a deal done, but it was hard to do in part because his caucus is more conservative probably than most Republican leaders are, and partly because he is vulnerable to attack for compromising Republican principles and working with Obama.
Obama also said that “left leaning outlets” are more willing to accept compromise than right wing outlets. What do you think? Are Limbaugh and Fox to blame for the polarization in this country?