Free Markets, Free People


Media’s day of reckoning over Obama long overdue

Rex Murphy, in Canada’s National Post, says something out loud in a major media publication that many of us have been saying since before the last presidential election:

As the bad economic news continues to emanate from the United States — with a double-dip recession now all but certain — a reckoning is overdue. American journalism will have to look back at the period starting with Barrack Obama’s rise, his assumption of the presidency and his conduct in it to the present, and ask itself how it came to cast aside so many of its vital functions. In the main, the establishment American media abandoned its critical faculties during the Obama campaign — and it hasn’t reclaimed them since.

Much of the Obama coverage was orchestrated sychophancy. They glided past his pretensions — when did a presidential candidate before “address the world” from the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin? They ignored his arrogance — “You’re likeable enough, Hillary.” And they averted their eyes from his every gaffe — such as the admission that he didn’t speak “Austrian.”

The media walked right past the decades-long association of Obama with the weird and racist pastor Jermiah Wright. In the midst of the brief stormlet over the issue, one CNN host — inexplicably — decided that CNN was going to be a “Wright-free zone.” He could have hung out a sign: “No bad news about Obama here.”

The media trashed Hillary. They burned Republicans. They ransacked Sarah Palin and her family. But Obama, the cool, the detached, the oracular Obama — he strolled to the presidency.

Note the point here.  It isn’t that they didn’t do their job on everyone, it’s that they essentially abrogated their responsibility for only one.  His point about Palin, regardless of how you feel about her, is dead on.   The difference between the treatment of the two is what proves Murphy’s point and validates what many of us have complained about since then.   

ramirezThe media pitched both their credibility and any claim to objectivity under the bus and, to use a Texas Holdem term, went “all in” for Obama. 

Murphy spends some time on the Palin/Obama comparison and clearly he’s hitting the crux of the problem with that comparison.  We went from the one side where detrimental news was ignored with Obama to a veritable media feeding frenzy where rumor was as good as fact and everything that might possibly hurt a candidate was published.

He concludes:

As a result, the press gave the great American republic an untried, unknown and, it is becoming more and more frighteningly clear, incompetent figure as President. Under Obama, America’s foreign policies are a mixture of confusion and costly impotence. It is increasingly bypassed or derided; the great approach to the Muslim world, symbolized by the Cairo speech, is in tatters. Its debt and deficits are a weight on the entire global economy. And the office of presidency is less and less a symbol of strength.

To the degree the press neglected its function as watchdog and turned cupbearer to a styrofoam demigod, it is a partner in the flaws and failures of what is turning out to be one of the most miserable performances in the modern history of the American presidency.

Irresponsibility has consequences, and I agree with Murphy, the press shares a great deal of responsibility for the election of Barack Obama and the resulting disaster he is as a president.

The media destroyed itself in that election cycle and has really done nothing to regain what shred of credibility it had previous to that time.  It still, in many ways, aids and abets this administration’s incompetence. 

I’m not sure how they can win back their tattered credibility and the media certainly has no claim to objectivity after that performance.  I have to agree, in terms of the media, that it has to be in at least the top 3 “ most miserable performances” … not of the presidency, this one is in the top spot for miserable performances … but of the media in a campaign.  And I’m having trouble thinking of the other two that might outrank the disgraceful 2008 media performance.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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18 Responses to Media’s day of reckoning over Obama long overdue

  • Unfortunately the Post is (1) Canadian and (2) Considered ‘Conservative’ in Canada.  So might as well shout on a deserted island in the middle of the Atlantic.  Journalists commenting on journalists might carry some resonance with US journalists, maybe, but ultimately the two reason I gave above will assuage any self-doubt.

  • IFFFFF the press had been merely quiescent, that would be one thing.
    But they were not.  They left all semblance of objectivity VERY OPENLY.  Witness the incredible spectacle of Journ-o-list and the very open declarations of intention there.
    Nobody could make that up.

  • “Irresponsibility has consequences, and I agree with Murphy, the press shares a great deal of responsibility for the election of Barack Obama and the resulting disaster he is as a president.”

    Cue Erb responding to this post by stating that Obama has been a great President and leader, we are too obtuse to see it – in 5 . . 4 . . 3 . . 2. .

  • American journalism will have to look back at the period starting with Barrack Obama’s rise, his assumption of the presidency and his conduct in it to the present, and ask itself how it came to cast aside so many of its vital functions. In the main, the establishment American media abandoned its critical faculties during the Obama campaign — and it hasn’t reclaimed them since.

    >>>> That assumes that they even care enough to do so. I personally think they chose sides long ago, and the public generally knows it, so why pretend otherwise now?

    But I do predict a sudden shift towards responsible coverage and hard hitting questions and probes of oh so many issues because the public deserves answers…..and it will just coincidentally coincide with the election of a republican president and congress.
    And that’s just a TOTAL ko-inky-dink, I assure you!

    • They are still in fantasy land and will continue to be so until replaced.  It will take a generation for such look backs.

      How could anyone not in an unreachable fantasy land lead with anything but ‘how do you plan to get overspending under control?’.  Instead, they view such concerns as politically motivated or even motivated by racism.

    • “I personally think they chose sides long ago, and the public generally knows it, so why pretend otherwise now?”

      Yep. There will be no reckoning. These smooth operators can easily gin up a thousand reasons why they don’t need to fundamentally change, and explain away bias. Usually, it’s “mistakes were made” with willful blindness to the fact that the biggest mistakes are always, always made in only one direction.

      If there was to be a reckoning, it would have happened after CBS’s transparent attempt to defeat Bush with obviously forged documents. But CBS prattled about “mistakes”, got rid of a few people, and went right back to leftist shilling as usual.

      Understanding where we are means starting at the beginning, and you stated it. They chose sides long ago. The side they chose is the leftist side. Leftists never, ever admit that they are wrong about anything that might damage the leftist cause. It’s the entire reason they are in the public sphere, and expecting them to change is expecting a leopard to change its spots.

    • I  say sooner – they don’t want to loose the Presidency, and THIS man can’t hold it for them.

      He’s provided the credible reasons for them to do their jobs – Fast and Furious, Black Panther voter intimidation (they’ll try and steer away from that one), Solyndra,  the unfortunate and impending attack we’re going to see on Israel (taunched before the end of 2012 because they know Obama will be useless for what they hope will be the time frame for conducting the op, AND because they will be very much afraid he’ll lose, and a Republican majority will take the House, Senate and White House), and the piss poor economy (another reason, America is pretty weak because of it).

      He hasn’t delivered what they wanted, he’s screwed their progressive hopes by being, in their minds, too timid, and he stands a very real chance of losing.  Watch the cooler party heads try to get him to bow out gracefully for personal reasons, while the media makes it warm for him to help him make the right decision.  They won’t risk the whole ship for this guy.

      Under the bus he must go so we may hail Hillary in 2012.

  • Newabusters reported that MSNBC has become a “Solydra-free zone”

  • Neverthefrickingless, the media would be largely irrelevant if enough voters actually applied critical thinking to their decision making.  I can’t, however, even imagine what sort of country this would be if > 50% of the public actually did that, we are so far from that reality.

    • People sort of don’t have the time and in some cases the skills to bypass the old media.  And who is going to tell the public the media is biased?  The old media?  Its a catch-22 problem

      Also I don’t think anyone expected the successful implementation of a Group Think in the major media outlets. Despite the dozens of channels on cable, there really are only a handful of media companies.  The media, imho, is one place where sweeping ownership of bandwidth should be restricted.

  • Call them the “Sycophant Media”, or the “LapDog Media” and it only shows one side of what I call the “Mushroom Media”, in that they not only tell absolute lies (and then bury the rebuttal on page 42E) but, like GunWalker and Solyndra, keep very mum about news that is advantageous to their “Boy King”.
     

  • cupbearer to a styrofoam demigod,  that’s some good writing right there!

  • sharkI personally think [the media] chose sides long ago, and the public generally knows it, so why pretend otherwise now?


    I agree.  However, I suggest that SOME media people genuinely don’t know that they are “biased”: they toe the lefty party line because they honestly believe that it is right and good, that they are telling “the Truth”.  It is almost religious in nature.

    jpm100 - I don’t think anyone expected the successful implementation of a Group Think in the major media outlets. Despite the dozens of channels on cable, there really are only a handful of media companies.  The media, imho, is one place where sweeping ownership of bandwidth should be restricted.


    I disagree, at least in terms of cause.  MiniTru didn’t develop “groupthink” because a handful of people / entities control the various media outlets: no corporate memo had to go out to “get” Sarah Palin or prop up Bad Luck Barry.  Rather, the groupthink is the natural result of several natural and (perhaps) unsolvable problems:

    1.  “Journalism” is a field of endeavor that attracts people who are inclined toward being “true believers”.  If I’m not mistaken, there have been polls of J-school students that indicate that the overwhelming majority get into journalism because they “want to make a difference”.  Thanks to various hagiographic movies and books over the years, the journalist is seen as a white knight, slaying the dragons of corporate and political corruption with the sword of investigative reporting.  Indeed, we call upon journalists to be watchdogs.  It’s an easy step to go from being a watchdog to being a crusader or zealot, and its very easy to mistake ones own views and biases for The Truth;

    2.  Journalists, especially in the upper ranks, come from a relative handful of J-schools: they receive the same training (indoctrination?) from the same professors.  I also think it fair to say that, worse, journalists tend to all be liberal arts majors: they do not learn the reliance on facts or the skepticism that comes with an education in science or engineering.  It’s the difference between learning how to form an opinion (“Compare and contrast…”) and how to discover and prove an actual fact (“Solve for x…”);

    4.  Journalist, especially in the upper ranks, all work together in the same handful of companies, in the same handful of cities.  This reinforces the grouthink that they get starting in J-school.  Consider the remarks often made in the comments here about the “faculty lounge”: extend that to “the newsroom” or “cocktail party”;

    5.  Journalists are like guild members who tend to stick together and cover for each other.  Consider how reluctant the rest of the media was to criticize Dan Rather for Memogate.  Quite aside from wanting to stick it to Bush, the rest of MiniTru was angry that Rather – an iconic, legendary figure in their trade – was under attack by bloggers, by amateurs, by OUTSIDERS.  So, they covered for him until it was so blindingly obvious that he’d lied that they couldn’t cover for him any more;

    6.  Finally, journalists hire other journalists.  It is only natural that people will hire others who best meet their mental image of “the ideal candidate”, which usually means somebody who looks and THINKS as they do.  It is unreasonable to expect somebody like Brian Williams or Tina Brown or Bill Keller to hire a reporter, editor, or writer – even one with absolute top grades and an excellent work record – who likes Sarah Palin, thinks that global warming is nothing but a lot unproven suppositions, and really wants to sink his teeth into the connections between the democrat party and GE, George Soros, and Goldman Sachs.  It would be like the Catholic Church making a cardinal of a Budhist priest.

    None of these problems can be solved by regulating ownership, though of course having an explicit media monopoly presents clear problems of its own.  Indeed, I’m not sure how to solve them, or if they can be solved at all.  At best, all we can do is deregulate the media environment: no “Fairness Doctrine”, “Net Neutrality” or any other legal mechanism to limit who can try to have a voice.  This is why talk radio has been successful and, I believe, good for the country as it offers an alternative medium and (for the time being) an alternative voice.  The same can be said for bloggers and other internet news / opinion outlets.

  • This is a big part of why I don’t consider Obama’s 2008 campaign to be brilliant. The media covered for him, and never asked him hard questions. The national media is more important then the campaign itself, because they are the filter through which most people will view the campaign.

    • Heh, and they’re having a hard time filtering out a 9%+ unemployment rate and a failed stimulus, even if they have managed to filter out Fast and Furious and Solyndra for many people.

      • Yes, but in 2008 Obama didn’t have a rocord to filter out.

        I also find it interesting that the mediaand even Ralph Nadar are starting to realize Palin is smart and a reformer. What a difference a few years make (and the fact that she’s not currently running for POTUS no doubt makes her easier for the left to like).

  • Someone in Canada thinks like that?  I really am surprised.
    As for mainstream media they’re terminally untrustworthy.  Reporting the news and letting the viewer decide has nothing to do with it.  Hasn’t been their function for decades.  My local stations constantly put out nanny type public service announcements reminding us not to text & drive, telling us where their next school supply drive for “underprivileged” kids is, etc.  About the only thing they haven’t told us is to digest our food.  Then you’ve got national news with flakes like Brian Williams and Anderson Cooper.  A bunch of talking heads.  Who needs ‘em.