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Opinion

Opinion

News media fall for Obama

June 12, 2009

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A criticism heard during the early years of the Bush administration was that the media were “in the tank” for Bush, fearing to question his foreign and domestic policies in the aftermath of 9/11 because of his then-high approval numbers and concern that they would be labeled unpatriotic.

Such fears have evaporated with the advent of the Obama administration. The intensity of media worship and slavish devotion by more journalists to President Obama and his policies has risen to what one might expect from members of a cult.

On MSNBC, Newsweek editor Evan Thomas said of the president: “...in a way, Obama’s standing above the country, above — above the world. He’s sort of God.” Speaking of Ronald Reagan, Thomas said he was “all about America” (and) Obama is ‘we are above that now. We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial.’” When was the last time you heard an American president faulted for putting America first?

This religious-like faith in Obama has led the media not to question much of what he does. He claims his stimulus plan has “saved or created” 150,000 jobs and that “stimulus II” will “save or create” 600,000 jobs this summer. How does government “save” a job and how does one measure such a claim? In January, before taking office, the president said 90 percent of the new jobs he would create would be in the private sector. The media have yet to ask him why that promise has not yet been fulfilled.

Last March, the president visited Columbus, Ohio, and announced that 25 police jobs were being saved because of his stimulus bill. According to CNN, “without the money, the officers never would have hit the streets. They were to be laid off before their first day of patrol, victims of city budget cuts.”

The influx of federal stimulus money, however, has done little to solve the city’s budget crisis. Columbus voters will decide in August whether to approve a tax increase. If they refuse, city officials may have to lay off 324 police officers. That would be a net loss of about 299 jobs. Don’t look for the media to headline that outcome, should it occur, as they trumpeted the original “job-saving” announcement.

Commenting (reporting is a lost art) on Obama’s D-Day speech at Normandy, Chip Reid of CBS News said Obama “hopes to create a world where there never has to be another D-Day.” Who told Reid that? And why didn’t Reid ask how Obama intends to bring that about and what makes such an effort different from, say, the failed League of Nations and failing United Nations?

NBC’s Brian Williams recently hosted an “Inside the Obama White House” special. As the conservative Media Research Center has noted, even liberal Bill Moyers couldn’t take the sugar rush: “NBC News this week delivered a candygram to the President — two primetime specials called ‘Inside the Obama White House.’ President Obama couldn’t have asked for a sweeter salute...”

Perhaps what gave Moyers a toothache was this statement by Williams, “People react strongly to this president. We’ve seen people moved to tears after just the briefest encounter with him.”

The danger in such hero worship is that this president (or any politician) might begin to believe his own press. A president who hears nothing but praise is likely to be less cautious and more enamored with himself. He could be tempted to think, if not actively, then passively, that he is, like Caesar, a “god,” above all others in ability and accountability.

It is neither in the interest of the country, nor the president, for the public and the media to treat President Obama as a messianic deliverer.

I recently saw two bumper stickers on the same car. One said, “Obama ‘08” and the other “Question Authority.” Surveys have shown most in the mainstream media supported Obama’s election. Too many journalists have forfeited their responsibility by failing to question his authority, losing what little remains of their credibility, not to mention readers and viewers. The public is losing its right to be told the truth.

There are houses for worship. Newsrooms ought not to be one of them.

Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.

Comments

Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

This repub party ia all about america....

This repub/neoconservative/PNAC party is largest law breaker in our nations history:

Isn't it odd each time our nations financial institutions crumble there are Bush family near by and a McCain still in office?

Who has history with financial institutions going south such as the savings and loan scandal? Republicans! http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm

http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/4120/we_arm_the_world/

McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five. The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate ... http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1989-11-29/news/mccain-the-most-reprehensible-of-the-keating-five/1

CRIME: Who hosted the Iran Contra secret illegal sale of weapons? Republicans! http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/publications/irancontra/irancon.html http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reagan/peopleevents/pande08.html

CRIME: Who brought the nation Iran Contra number 2? Republicans! http://www.democracynow.org/2008/3/5/iran_contra_20_how_the_bush

CRIME: Which party illegally spied on the democrats to win an election? Republicans! Watergate! http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/watergate/index.html

CRIME: Which party held secret energy meetings and refused our elected officials its' content and who attended? GW Bush and the republicans!

CRIME: Which party lied to congress and the world,went against military advice and created the worst strategic blunder in the history of the USA aka Iraq War? Republican Party! http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10348418/

Which party has held secret oil deals with Saudi Arabia? Republicans! http://www.democracynow.org/2004/4/20/did_bush_cut_secret_oil_deal

CRIME: Secret Oil deals for Iraq Oil- Republicans! http://www.pubrecord.org/nationworld/262.html?task=view

CRIME AGAINST DEMOCRACY : PNAC's policy document, "Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination. Many PNAC members hold highest-level positions in the George W. Bush administration. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

The USA has fewer jobs for taxpayers today as a result of a Texas republican governor exercising his executive decision making powers as president of the USA

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 1 month ago

Meet the party who,screws vets around: http://ivaw.org/node/4290

Was Ronald Reagan a worse President than George W. Bush or did he just set the pace for dumb economics?

Reagan kept people laughing as a distraction and pulled the wool over the eyes of the media and many taxpaying voters.

Was Ronald Reagan an Even Worse President Than George W. Bush?

By Robert Parry, Consortium News. Posted June 5, 2009.

The starting point for many of the catastrophes confronting the United States today can be traced to Reagan's presidency. There was also a Bush nearby.

http://www.alternet.org/politics/140438/was_ronald_reagan_an_even_worse_president_than_george_w._bush/

http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

Yes all should beware when presidents answer with humor instead of answering the question!

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Chris Ogle 5 years, 1 month ago

The danger in such hero worship is that this president (or any politician) might begin to believe his own press

That is a good one, but he really is not that stupid.

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jayhawklawrence 5 years, 1 month ago

Today's paper is overloaded with the same negative columnists attacking our President and plans for recovery.

These are not thoughtful columnists making reasoned comments. They are written by paid political hacks who are nowhere near the mainstream.

Mixed in with this vitriol are stories about a rising tide of racism in America because some 88 year old loonie gets a 22 rifle and starts shooting people. One screwball. Not a movement. Get real.

The editorial in favor of Melvin Neufeld as self appointed member of the board of the KBA had to make a lot of people laugh out loud.

I am getting tired of reading garbage and not getting real news.

If this paper gets any worse I am going to have to consider the KC Star as a replacement.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 1 month ago

jayhawklawrence,

The columnists the ljworld carries are actually pretty balanced. We've got Charles Krauthammer, George Will and Cal Thomas on the right, and Ellen Goodman, David Broder, Garrison Keillor and Leonard Pitts on the left.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 1 month ago

Cal Thomas complaining about media bias is like a bank robber complaining about taxes.

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ASBESTOS 5 years, 1 month ago

"This repub/neoconservative/PNAC party is largest law breaker in our nations history:"

What like ACORN or any other PAC. PACS just want money and power, and are not out for American Citizens. Whether they are right or left, PACS are bad news and so arelobbyists.

I recommend this site which actually documents the slobbering love affair of Obama from the media:

www.newsbusters.org

take a look, take a good look.

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gogoplata 5 years, 1 month ago

Partisanship is the great evil here. The truth is we should not trust any man in power. Our system was originally set up to chain down those in power by the constitution. People in power often yield to the temptation to take advantage of the power they have been given and abuse it. The two parties are so busy clamoring for the power that they are willing to compromise on core principles defending their man when he is in office. My hope is that America will wake up and realize that it is not democrat vs republican but government vs the people. It is time to shrink the size of our government and give the power back to the people.

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BigAl 5 years, 1 month ago

If we were to follow the economic whinings of Limbaugh, Hannity and others, we would be in a deep, deep depression. General Motors and Chrysler would already be gone costing thousands and thousands of jobs. Banks would have already failed throwing us further into a depression. Instead, even though there will be some pain and suffering for many, at least GM and Chrysler appear to be reorganizing and will probably make a comeback. And let's not forget, several banks are already returning 68 Billion of stimulus money.
I don't care who you blame for what but the fact is that President Obama inherited an economy in shambles, two ongoing wars and we are disliked all over the world. William Safire writing for Spiro Agnew coined a phrase that applies to a lot of you and definitely FOX News: "Nattering Nabobs of Negativism" You right wingers need to continue to watch FOX News with O'Reilly and Hannity while they constantly condemn the so-called liberal press and then they cover Britney Spears, David Letterman, Miss California, gay penguins on O'Reilly (you can't make that up) and constantly defend Sarah Palin. They back their fair and balanced opinions up with “contributors” like the fair and balanced Newt Gingerich, Karl Rove, Laura Ingraham and the mealy mouthed Dick Morris, among others. Just this week while FOX News was discussing Britney Spears with their bleached blonde panel of yes-women, CNN was covering Iran, North Korea and their nuclear capabilities.
It is no wonder the right wingers in this country are losing touch with reality.

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gogoplata 5 years, 1 month ago

Or just continue on with partisanship as usual.

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beatrice 5 years, 1 month ago

jonas made me laugh too.

Cal just seems upset because he no longer has the same level of access to the White House as he had under Bush. How many soft-ball interviews did he have with Bush in the past eight years after all?

MSNBC certainly has some left leaning reporters, no doubt. They help balance out the right-wingers over at FauxNews. Neither is worth watching.

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BigAl 5 years, 1 month ago

Nancy... I don't watch Olberman either. I don't watch MSNBC at all. I try watching FOX but they have gone so far right it is hurting the country.

Olberman is just as bad as O'Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh. O'Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh preach way too much fear, hate and diviseness.

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BigAl 5 years, 1 month ago

By the way, I wouldn't give O'Reilly much respect either. I was actually proud of Letterman for standing up to him. O'Reilly is nothing but a bully and a self-promoter. Besides, Letterman isn't news. Neither is Britney Spears or Miss California but they sure do get a lot of airtime on FOX. Instead of watching FOX, you might as well pick up People magazine.

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gogoplata 5 years, 1 month ago

Face it. If you want real news you'll have to look somewhere other than the the big news stations. All you have to do is look back to February 2007 and remember how we were bombarded by story after story about Anna Nicole Smith to realize that.

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Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 1 month ago

President Obama is so real and so comfortable and relaxed. He eats cheeseburgers and m and ma's. He walks the dog. You can tell that Michele enjoys being around small children. So many adults, and parents, stiffen up and aren't quite sure what to say or do. I hope the little girl who got the note from President Obama keeps it in a safe place. You don't hear Kennedy as a first name that often. The President can be a tab short or curt with people at times. His motto seems to be, keep it focused, short and sweet.

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