Obama compares ‘clickbait’ sports media to political press corps

AP-Charles Rex Arbogast
Former President Barack Obama heads to a voting machine to cast his ballot at an early vote venue Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Former President Obama says he sees similarities in the way the national media covers politics and professional sports.

“Political reporting is a lot like sports reporting,” the former president said during an appearance on ESPN’s “Manningcast,” a simulcast of “Monday Night Football” hosted on the network by retired quarterbacks Eli Manning and Peyton Manning, who are brothers.

“People are always looking for the controversy, to stir stuff up, ’cause that’s clickbait. It attracts attention,” Obama said.

“Most people don’t think that way,” Obama continued, speaking of the way the media portrays the political and sports figures it focuses on. “Most people are just trying to figure out how to do right by my family, on the job. And when we don’t participate, then we leave it to folks whose business it is to divide.”

Obama, a noted Chicago sports fan and basketball enthusiast, has been hitting the campaign trail in recent months to help boost Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. He attended four fundraisers in August and September to raise money for candidates.

The 44th president has spoken openly in recent months about what he says is disinformation and partisan rhetoric polluting the political media landscape.

At an event in Chicago earlier this year, Obama said that “the loss of local journalism, the nationalization of grievance and anger-based journalism, the growth of social media and technology whose product design monetizes anger and resentment — all this undermines our democracy and, if combined with ethno-nationalism, misogyny or racism, can be fatal.”

Tags Barack Obama Eli Manning Obama Peyton Manning
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