VIEWPOINTS: Biased media easily entranced by Obama’s magic
August 09, 2008 08:00:00 AM
The writer, winner of the 1968 Ernie Pyle Award for war reporting, covered Vietnam, the Middle East and other conflicts for Scripps Howard Newspapers. He lives in Panama City.
By Don Tate
Few things are more worthy than journalism going into the heart of darkness and bringing out the truth. Few things are more worthless than journalists, leaking bias like malarial sweats, in the pose of objectivity.
Unfortunately, a large portion of today’s media chasing after Barack Obama like an army of lapdogs waiting for him to whistle would make Dr. Joseph Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda proud of such peerless objectivity.
“Bias? I don’t see that at all,” opined one such peerless observer.
August presences of the fourth estate, such as The New York Times, which has thus far denied printing John McCain’s reply to Obama on its op-ed page, are so deep in the tank for Barack they would need a giant periscope to see if there’s even another world out here.
When a journalist does try to actually nail down the senator on whether the surge has worked in Iraq, he glides into Obamaspeak and wriggles, dodges, reverses field toward the center, zags back left and stutter-steps down the sidelines not like a “new” politician, but just another pol from Chicago. If he would dare say that, yes, he was flat wrong when he declared that the surge would fail, or that McCain, in the face of heavy criticism (“the surge will fail … the war is lost …”) stood his ground against the boo birds and congenital defeat-mongers and has been proved right, that would be breathtakingly, almost heroically new.
Obama proffers his Einsteinien theory of battlefield relativity (Iraq, in the heart of the Arab world, is less important Afghanistan), and refuses to admit that had his policy, his “sound judgment” been followed, the U.S. would have already suffered its most humiliating defeat since Vietnam, or that Iraq and the greater Middle East would have turned into a bloodier mess than even his eloquent position parsing could groove its way out of.
The magic of Obama is that even with his vast non-experience in war and foreign affairs, he was able to touch down and scoot through the Middle East, spending an entire day or so in Iraq, disagree with Gen. Petraeus about the dangers of too-fast withdrawal, and yet swoop up all he needed to establish his battlefield credentials and reinforce his “strategic vision” and “world view” beyond the south side of Chicago.
That may be possible because Barack was apparently born with “sound judgment” about this, that and most things, such as “bringing us together.” Obama said recently, “The way you know where someone is going is by where they’ve been.” As he has spent his entire political life in deep left field, where is the shining togetherness to which he would bring us?
Even sitting in rocket range of Jeremiah Wright’s rants and blasts about the evils of America for 20 years did not affect his sound judgment, he maintains, because somehow he didn’t hear any of it. And to many truth-seekers in TV land and Printsville, that is understandable and forgivable, and thou shalt not question him too closely – that is divisive.
The magic of Obama is that he can sneeze and an opinion-maker feels a “thrill” run up his leg. Another feels his knees “quake.” These are supposed to be journalists. This ex-correspondent remembers a Pulitzer Prize winner, whom I’ll call Crock, coming to Vietnam for a five-day look see at the war, who never got out of Saigon, but confirmed his direst convictions about Saigon’s inferior restaurants and no damn nozzle on his hotel shower, after which he returned to give his first-hand report to the American people.
Of course, one can believe any reported twaddle if one wants to believe.
In Obamaworld, mere mortals gasp as they are transported up, up and away on his oratorical balloon. He flaps his rhetorical feathers and women faint. He has a great smile. He swaggers a little. He’s cool. He is the darling of Hollywood. He’s got a rockâ‘star jump shot. He can utter any contradiction he wants on gun bans, domestic surveillance, public financing, gun-toting Bibleâ‘clingers, the surge – you name it (“As I’ve always said,” he always says, maybe for an hour), and for the believers it’s automatic yea, clap, cheer, sigh. Write it down.
And the hard-nosed Crocks of the media, self-proclaimed watchdogs of the republic, are moved to coo and blink their big dewy eyes in worshipful acquiescence. The magic of Obama.
Filed under: Presidentual Race 2008