Outside the Echo Chamber

By Dan Froomkin
12:39 PM ET, 02/19/2009

I'm hearing an increasingly common refrain these days: That Washington's media and political elite just don't get it. See, for instance, my recent posts: Washington vs. the Rest of America and Obama: I Won't Play Washington Games.

Along those lines, Washington Post opinion columnist David Ignatius takes on his fellow members of the Washington media establishment this morning: "Media coverage of the $787 billion stimulus package signed Tuesday by President Obama has had an air of unreality -- as if people were reporting on a baseball game or a tennis match. Is Obama up or down today? Did the Republicans gain or lose momentum? Meanwhile, as Washington obsesses over the political box score, the economy has been going down the toilet.

"You get a better sense of what the crisis feels like -- and the real impact of the stimulus package -- when you leave the miasma of federal spending and examine state and local governments. Here, the impact of the downturn is severe and immediate...

"Did President Obama have a good day Tuesday when he signed the stimulus bill? You bet he did. But the point that weirdly seems to get relatively little attention is that it was a good day for millions of Americans who are getting hammered by the recession."

And Greg Sargent blogs at whorunsgov.com: "At a private White House cocktail reception last night for leaders of major progressive groups, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle appealed to these leaders and signaled that their groups would play a key role in driving the big progressive changes at the heart of the White House’s legislative agenda, an attendee tells me.

"The message was that these groups would be valuable as a kind of progressive outside 'echo chamber,' as the attendee puts it."

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