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OpinionColumnistsLane Filler

Filler: The media is letting Barack Obama off too easily

President Barack Obama greets shoppers as he shops

President Barack Obama greets shoppers as he shops at the local bookstore Politics and Prose in northwest Washington. (Nov. 30, 2013) Credit: AP

Usually, when I hear the mainstream liberal-loving media is giving Democrats a free ride and refusing to expose their heinous crimes, I take it with a grain of salt. It's not that newsrooms aren't majority-liberal: they mostly are. It's just that your average journalist is driven by getting great stories, in the hope of a promotion, then another promotion, then a Pulitzer, which could lead to paychecks large enough to escape the one-meal-per-day nutrition plan and one-room per apartment floor plan.

Serious journalists would forsake Ghandi, Obama and their mom for a good story.

The media's response to President Barack Obama's restructuring of Obamacare is different, though. This time much of the media does seem to have taken a dive for its beloved.

As of Jan. 1, the Affordable Care Act will define how health insurance is structured. And since the day the law passed, it's been clear even to Republican House members who voted to repeal it a nearly infinite (and impotent) number of times, that between they and Obama's constant conflict and a Senate that's as useful as a dead man's nipples, there is no potential to amend Obamacare. Legally, that is.

In July, the president announced that employers with more than 50 full-time workers wouldn't have to provide coverage or be fined in 2014, as the pesky law demands. Instead, they could wait until 2015.

There's a reason to postpone: every businessperson and HR manager I've talked to says their part of the bill is as incomprehensible as a drunk teen's post-prom confession.

But that means, thanks to Obama, rich companies won't be fined for not providing coverage to their workers, but the employees will still be fined if they don't insure themselves.

Crony capitalism: it's not just for conservatives anymore.

Then last month, following the "if you like your coverage, you can keep it" debacle, Obama announced that insurance companies could continue selling for another year all the policies they'd canceled because Obamacare made it illegal to sell them past 2013.

And he can do that, because he's the . . . king, right? Or the emperor? Must be, because presidents in multi-branched democratic governments just don't have that kind of power.

The balances have been checked at the door.

There has been media coverage about the two changes. There has been almost none exploring the idea that the moves aren't legal or valid.

Consider the same scenario if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election. Six months after his inauguration, the Republican announces he's decided that the mandate on his corporate buddies to cover workers is postponed.

Five months later, all those outlawed "substandard" policies insurance companies loved to sell are again for sale, thanks to Romney alone.

Had Romney been elected and done to Obamacare what Obama did, he'd have been gang-tackled by the media.

So why has the spotlight on Obama's moves been so dim? Media outlets are letting the president slide partly because they believe him to be a good guy and Obamacare to be a good thing. But they are also letting him slide because so many crackpots have assailed Obama as a Muslim or a foreigner and Obamacare as unconstitutional and immoral that now, anyone who seriously criticizes the president sounds kooky.

To be clear: Obama is a Christian, natural-born American. He is also the duly elected president of the United States. He is not emperor, or king. And the media is failing to explain the distinction.

Lane Filler is a member of the Newsday editorial board.