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Monday, August 31, 2009

Obama's New York Times Op-Ed: The Lingering Questions

On August 15 The New York Times published an op-ed, entitled "Why We Need Health Care Reform", written by or for President Obama. I can add little to the debate over health care reform, currently the hottest news item in the U.S. and the subject of fractious controversy. However, there are other aspects of the president's op-ed which raise questions: its venue and timing.

Is it appropriate that a president take his or her case on a matter of national importance to the public via an op-ed in a solitary, regional (albeit internationally read) newspaper? Is it appropriate or efficacious for a president to publish his or her views exclusively in a newspaper known for its Left-leaning bent and whose editorial staff in the 2008 election was firmly in his camp? Is it appropriate for a president to demonstrate favoritism of this kind to any specific media entity?

Still more troublesome was the timing of the president's op-ed, which appeared so soon after The New York Times' editorial staff sought to bolster Obama following a derisive editorial in the Washington Post concerning his foreign policy. (See: Was a favor being returned?

In a nutshell, does this sort of special relationship behoove the president, who now serves all of the nation's electorate?

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