Will the newspapers toss Obama under the bus now?

posted at 10:00 am on June 21, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Politico’s Kenneth Vogel wonders whether the editorial choices made in covering Barack Obama will change now that he has reversed himself on public financing of the general-election campaign.  Many newspapers consider that to be a key reform issue, and Obama had received over 100 endorsements in the primary on the basis of his reform message.  This week’s responses to his abandonment of public financing reflected a great deal of anger at the betrayal, and it could signal a sharp turn in tone from the print media:

Of the editorial boards that opined Friday about his breaking the pledge, most of those that endorsed him during the primary were aggressive in their criticism.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s called the decision “as disappointing as it is disingenuous,” while the Boston Globe’s wrote it “deals a body blow … to his own reputation as a reform candidate.” And The Baltimore Sun’s editorial called it “a major disappointment for those struggling to restrain the pernicious influence of special interests in American politics.”

The New York Times’ editorial board, which endorsed Clinton after allegedly leaning toward Obama, wrote that “Obama has come up short” of “his evocative vows to depart from self-interested politics.”

Obama attempted a preemptive defense of his new position by arguing that his massive base of small online donors constitute a “parallel public financing,” and that he needed to exit the program to defend himself from the independent spending of 527 groups, long a bugaboo of campaign finance reformers. Many editorial boards, though, have been outright dismissive of this argument.

The Washington Post opined that Obama’s “effort to cloak his broken promise in the smug mantle of selfless dedication to the public good is a little hard to take.”

And USA Today, which also did not endorse any candidates, said Obama put “expediency over principle,” was “disingenuous about his reasons for opting out of public financing” and proved he’s not a “real reformer.”

Vogel notes that the print media has provided “fawning” coverage of Obama during the campaign.  They seemed enchanted by Obama to the point where they didn’t bother to see whether he was too good to be true.  Now that he has turned his back on reform, that may change.  Even more damning may be the reasons why he claims to have abandoned the public financing system, in essence charging the GOP with forcing him into it through what turns out to be non-existent 527 efforts and PAC/lobbyist contributions that amounts to less than 2% of the Republican totals — when Democrats raised 10% of their 2004 funds from the same sources.

If Obama can’t keep to his principles under fire, when would he ever keep to them?

Plus, for some of these editors, the issue has become personal.  Obama spoke to several of these editors in meetings during the campaign and insisted that he supported the public financing system,  including and especially the Washington Post.  They now know he flat-out lied to them, personally, and nothing quite gets the blood boiling than that kind of betrayal.

The print media doesn’t have the same clout it once did, but it can still drive overall coverage.  If they start digging into Obama, the television and radio media will pick up on it; they use print media as a source for their own coverage.   One only has to look at the New York Times’ hit piece on John McCain in February to see how newspapers can grab national attention for their political efforts.  If the editors decide to turn their cannons on Obama, the ride could get bumpy, and not just from Obama tossing more people under his own bus.

Many people will conclude that the print media will come back around to Obama after venting their spleen this week.  Don’t be so sure.  They believe in the public financing system — the Washington Post’s Watergate reporting practically invented it.  If Obama wins, that system is dead.  John McCain may look a lot more palatable now.


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And USA Today, which also did not endorse any candidates, said Obama put “expediency over principle,” was “disingenuous about his reasons for opting out of public financing” and proved he’s not a “real reformer.”

Question: What ever gave them the idea that he had principals to begin with?

He’s a real fake. Something that conservatives knew right out of the box.

Mojave Mark on June 21, 2008 at 10:06 AM

Will the newspapers toss Obama under the bus now?

Newspaper Endorsements REALLY didn’t make any difference during 2000 & 2004. In 2008, they became more irrelevant than before.

Anita on June 21, 2008 at 10:07 AM

The MSM turn on Obama? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Yakko77 on June 21, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Here is another raving lib who tossed Barry under the bus without even a howdy-do to go with it…..

Mark Shields on Obama fundraising flip-flop

Limerick on June 21, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Imagine his shock if this were to happen–like a small child who has never been told “no” finally being told so. Shock, betrayal, confusion–the whole gamut.

Not that that’s a bad thing.

Bob's Kid on June 21, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Will the newspapers toss Obama under the bus now?

Don’t count on it. Our local paper links him genealogically to James Madison and Robert E. Lee.

flipflop on June 21, 2008 at 10:08 AM

This week’s responses to his abandonment of public financing reflected a great deal of anger at the betrayal, and it could signal a sharp turn in tone from the print media

Naw,..where they gonna go?

Many people will conclude that the print media will come back around to Obama after venting their spleen this week. Don’t be so sure. They believe in the public financing system — the Washington Post’s Watergate reporting practically invented it. If Obama wins, that system is dead. John McCain may look a lot more palatable now.

Nope. Wrong skin color. And, in your headlines, I see Barry is already starting to pound that theme. It’s just a lover’s quarrel. They’ll jump right back in the sack after making the proper noises.

a capella on June 21, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Since Barack HUSSEIN Obama is a Muslim-Marxist who practices “Taqiyah”, i.e. which means he LIES about EVERYTHING, I find it difficult to swallow that the MSM is shocked to find out, just now…that he “lies”.

His entire life, persona, and every word out of his mouth is a Lie, and they just figured it out NOW???

When it comes to truth-telling, this guy makes Hill & Bill look like George Washington!

Dale in Atlanta on June 21, 2008 at 10:13 AM

I hate all campaign finance laws and so just can’t seem to care about Obama’s choice. But if it helps McCain without getting us more campaign finance laws it’s a good thing I suppose.

NotCoach on June 21, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Well, Thankfully McCain doesn’t upset his supporters at the Newspapers, of course, the same couldn’t be said of his concern for the Republicans.

Snake307 on June 21, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Now that the finish line is in sight, everybody’s getting nervous. The Messiah himself is doing everything he can to hurt his chances. The buzz is wearing off, and in their partial sobriety, everybody realizes he’d be a disaster. Even Obama realizes it.

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2008 at 10:17 AM

If Newspaper start to throw BO under the bus, 1968 here we come after all. At the Dems convention they will throw BO under the bus for Hillary. WOW!!! Hillary just might be president after all in 2009. Did Hillary tell BO to chuck public financing??

BroncosRock on June 21, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Very well written column, Ed.

I’ve long held that Obama’s got bad character. The reasons why are both complex and verbose were I to list them all but I’ll just leave it at this and that is that Obama’s revealing his bad character, one flip-flop after another, one hedge and mindgame after another. The latter, I especially can’t stand.

S on June 21, 2008 at 10:19 AM

Barack O’Bummer.

jgapinoy on June 21, 2008 at 10:19 AM

I wonder how long it’ll take POLITICO and DRUDGE to come to their senses.

S on June 21, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Will the newspapers toss Obama under the bus now?

LOL. Or reveal themselves as whores. Quite a choice they have now. Good job Ed.

They now know he flat-out lied to them, personally, and nothing quite gets the blood boiling than that kind of betrayal.

Arrogant pricks.

JiangxiDad on June 21, 2008 at 10:23 AM

The buzz is wearing off, and in their partial sobriety, everybody realizes he’d be a disaster. Even Obama realizes it.

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Buyer’s remorse? I don’t think so. To the donks and media, winning with a disasterous black candidate is far preferable to losing. Soros has this firmly under his thumb and the goal is in sight. He won’t let the media contaminate the crime scene too badly. In fact, the indignant editorials about this give them good cover for later.

a capella on June 21, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Mark Shields on Obama fundraising flip-flop

Limerick on June 21, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Thanks for the tip. Here are some notable excerpts:

MARK SHIELDS: It was a flip-flop of epic proportions. It was one that he could not rationalize or justify. His video was unconvincing. He looked like someone who was being kept as a hostage somewhere he was so absolutely unconvincing in it. It could not have passed a polygraph test.

DAVID BROOKS, columnist, New York Times: It would have at least been honest, as opposed to sort of operatic, which that video was. He treated it as if some noble decision to finalize democracy. It was ludicrous.

As for whether the print media will throw him under the bus, not really. They will slap his wrist, send him to a short timeout, and then greet him with big hugs and kisses.

Buy Danish on June 21, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Obama: “Can’t I just eat my waffle?”
.
There, fixed it.

dont taze me bro on June 21, 2008 at 10:30 AM

So he lied. Isn’t that standard operating procedure for dems? His brain dead followers are used to it.

thekingtut on June 21, 2008 at 10:31 AM

The MSM is so in bed with Obama that they would go along with him even if, tomorrow, he decided to drill for oil in Beverly Hills and Martha’s Vineyard, let alone flip-flopping on campaign financing.

MaiDee on June 21, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Anyone want to guess how long it will be before Big Possumus reverses himself triangulates on not drilling offshore or in ANWR?

Buy Danish on June 21, 2008 at 10:05 AM

As soon as his people have a few focus groups help them decide how to cast the flip-flop as a noble and principled decision.

AZCoyote on June 21, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Buyer’s remorse? I don’t think so. To the donks and media, winning with a disasterous black candidate is far preferable to losing. Soros has this firmly under his thumb and the goal is in sight. He won’t let the media contaminate the crime scene too badly. In fact, the indignant editorials about this give them good cover for later.

a capella on June 21, 2008 at 10:27 AM

Not necessarily so. They went through this same thing with Deval Patrick (Obama friend and Axelrod client) except they didn’t wake up until it was too late. Now even the Moonbats want him out ASAP. The media knows for certain now they’ve seen this movie before.

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2008 at 10:37 AM

Many people will conclude that the print media will come back around to Obama after venting their spleen this week. Don’t be so sure.

Wish I could think there was any real chance of it. Tell ya what, if it happens, I’ll buy you a steak dinner.

petefrt on June 21, 2008 at 10:44 AM

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2008 at 10:37 AM

I hope you’re right. I still hold to the strong horse vs weak horse theory. The media are scared to death of being denied precious access down the road because they behaved objectively during the campaign. Clinton perfected that stick and carrot technique with them and they haven’t forgotten.

a capella on June 21, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Will they throw him under the bus? Yeah, right. My local paper ran a Smerconish piece today from The Philadelphia Inquirer entitled “Obama should fight back.”

The whining hypocrisy in the article is amazing after what the left has done to President Bush for the past 5 years. Smerconish has seemingly combined every Obama smear out there to describe the emails he gets. (Why don’t I receive any of these)?

The print media still does matter. Most are backing Obama and they aren’t going to go down without a fight.

Connie on June 21, 2008 at 10:54 AM

I hope you’re right. I still hold to the strong horse vs weak horse theory. The media are scared to death of being denied precious access down the road because they behaved objectively during the campaign. Clinton perfected that stick and carrot technique with them and they haven’t forgotten.

a capella on June 21, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Don’t worry. They know McCain’s deep need to be loved by the media and the Left will keep them from ever being locked out or ignored.

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Buyer’s remorse? I don’t think so. To the donks and media, winning with a disasterous black candidate is far preferable to losing. Soros has this firmly under his thumb and the goal is in sight. He won’t let the media contaminate the crime scene too badly. In fact, the indignant editorials about this give them good cover for later.

a capella on June 21, 2008 at 10:27 AM
Not necessarily so. They went through this same thing with Deval Patrick (Obama friend and Axelrod client) except they didn’t wake up until it was too late. Now even the Moonbats want him out ASAP. The media knows for certain now they’ve seen this movie before.

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2008 at 10:37 AM

David Patterson is NY is also giving them reason to think twice about backing every black politician who gets on the national stage. Deval and Patterson hurt the “young black progressive politican” brand.

Wethal on June 21, 2008 at 11:00 AM

And thus it came to pass…

When AP prints stories about what an arrogant and ungracious boss he is, time’s up.

PattyJ on June 21, 2008 at 11:02 AM

(D)

That’s all the MSM needs to see when it comes time to choose a candidate to back.

No way they’ll throw their golden one under the bus.

ChePibe on June 21, 2008 at 11:04 AM

When AP prints stories about what an arrogant and ungracious boss he is, time’s up.

PattyJ on June 21, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Amazing article. Thanks.

JiangxiDad on June 21, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Obama to newspapers: It would help if they would get over it. That wasn’t the CFR he knew. He’s busy campaigning McCain and needs to decide how he is going to be spending his time. The Republicans made him do it. Hope and Change.

pedestrian on June 21, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Don’t worry. They know McCain’s deep need to be loved by the media and the Left will keep them from ever being locked out or ignored.

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Quite right. Moreover, McCain has got to be sick and tired of the neg. reaction he gets from the right wing media. My guess is he’d sooner freeze them out.

JiangxiDad on June 21, 2008 at 11:11 AM

PattyJ on June 21, 2008 at 11:02 AM

Oh my goodness! He actually said those things about himeself? Absolutely unbelievable!

Connie on June 21, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Connie on June 21, 2008 at 11:13 AM

himeself=himself

Connie on June 21, 2008 at 11:14 AM

I’m waiting to see when/if Drudge turns on Obamessiah.

Wethal on June 21, 2008 at 11:15 AM

What difference does it make what the media says now? They created the Obamamyth which cannot be retracted, modified, or destroyed.

Blake on June 21, 2008 at 11:21 AM

My BHO talking points:

Chicago politician as in “Chicago politician Barack Obama says we shouldn’t drill for oil.”

Crooked as in “Many of Barack Obama’s closest friends and associates are crooked.”

Wimp as in “Al Qaeda, Middle East terrorists, and Iran consider Barack Obama to be a wimp, and that’s why they want to negotiate with him, and not John McCain.”

indythinker on June 21, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Good question. Will the chickens come home to roost? McCain, the Maverick, was the media darling before Obama ever set up shop in Washington.

I highly doubt it, not enough of them anyway. They’re just having a tough time keeping up with Obama. It takes time to form rationalizations and excuses on behalf of the Chosen One.

reaganaut on June 21, 2008 at 11:23 AM

As this campaign season goes merrily rolling along, I think more and more people are going to see just how inexperienced and unqualified B.O. really is. I am sincerely hoping that the majority of those same folk happen to be voters here in Illinois, so that right after he gets trounced by McPain for the Presidency, the statcan then concentrate on booting his rear out of the Senate come next time he is up for re-election.

pilamaye on June 21, 2008 at 11:28 AM

The boiling blood of the newspapers and television media will quickly cool. After all, public financing and campaign finance reform are merely means to an end. The end of course, is the enactment of leftist policies. When the slighted media takes a breath and looks at the big picture, they will realize that the financing issues and Obama’s mendacity are irrelevant and what is ultimately most important is that the most leftist candidate is elected. Obama’s flip-flop will soon be footnote of a footnote in history.

Girder on June 21, 2008 at 11:33 AM

Obama will give them the liberal-dominated Supreme Court that they need to push through the issues they champion: abortion rights, outlawing capital punishment, homosexual marriage, criminals’ rights, terrorists’ rights, separation of religion and state, and the subordination of the Constitution to international law and international courts.

The MSM will overlook a lot to get that. Just like Hillary, the MSM will put up with betrayal after betrayal to get to a goal, theirs being liberalism enshrined as constitutional precedent.

Wethal on June 21, 2008 at 11:51 AM

… he has reversed himself on public financing of the general-election campaign …

This is a non-issue. Who among the large swath of potential voters who can name the last 3 runners up of American Idol will care about “public financing of the general-election campaign”?

This will be swept under the rug.

BowHuntingTexas on June 21, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Like Rush says: The media didn’t make me, the media can’t destroy me.

Too bad for Bambi he can’t say the same thing. Not that the media will destroy him, but they can at any time if it suits them.

misterpeasea on June 21, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Mojave Mark nailed it in comment one.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Don’t Hyde

Entelechy on June 21, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Too bad for Bambi he can’t say the same thing. Not that the media will destroy him, but they can at any time if it suits them.

misterpeasea on June 21, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Yes, and the media is being slowly, but systematically, destroyed by the new media. The clock is winding down for that whole media/dem party enterprise. While that makes them particularly dangerous now (Tet offensive time), it’s looking like it will cost them the WH.

JiangxiDad on June 21, 2008 at 12:11 PM

Will the newspapers toss Obama under the bus now?

(Looks out window) Nope, no avian porcines in sight.
(Checks on-line weather report) Nope, Hades is still well above 0 degrees Celsius.
Conclusion: After a small snit (probably less than 24 hours), the MSM will be back to their fawning and drooling.

rmgraha on June 21, 2008 at 12:12 PM

PattyJ, thanks for a very accurate assessment of the cockiness of both Obamas.

Only the blind and the mentally limited have not noticed this yet.

He’s bordering on arrogance.

Understatement of this campaign.

But both Obama and his wife, Michelle, ooze a sense of entitlement.

Entitlements and cockiness are indignant.

Entelechy on June 21, 2008 at 12:17 PM

MSM turning on Obama? There goes a flying pig.

With estimates of 90% of newsrooms being registered Dems it is virtually impossible to fantasize about Editorial pages being drivers of critical thought as regards Obama’s merits.
Instead I think it is safe to conclude that newsrooms will pick their spots to appear independent. This is a perfect example. Inside the beltway types understand the broken promise but the average voter scratches their head and goes Duh.

Obama’s silly little presidential seal is a good case in point. Imagine just for a moment had a repub fashioned such a stupid plague to be carried about like the “nuclear football”. The mockery would know no end. Saturday Night Live would have a field day. The hubris of it all.

patrick neid on June 21, 2008 at 12:19 PM

Dale in Atlanta on June 21, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Way to take a good argument and discredit it with stupid.

Squid Shark on June 21, 2008 at 12:20 PM

“I am not the man you knew.” Obama 2008.

Chuck Schick on June 21, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Yes, the article from AP was amazing. You would think they were writing about a Bush or something!

Barry O: all sizzle and no steak.

PattyJ on June 21, 2008 at 12:26 PM

This is getting better and better. Obama is his own worse enemy.

becki51758 on June 21, 2008 at 12:33 PM

They may be mad about him for now, and they may never see him in the exact same way again, but this is not going to result in any seismic shift in the media’s treatment of Obama vs. McCain, not only because his world view still fits in better with theirs, but because of the racial intimidation tactics that Obama was trotting out technically against the Republicans yesterday, but actually against anyone who comes at him too hard with criticism.

Remember, one of the main driving forces behind Obama’s media support is they want to feel good about themselves for helping to elect the first African-American president, which is why he was built up into sainthood, because then, they could feel as if they’re supporting a saint. The other side is, even if the blinders are off a bit about Barack, the media doesn’t want to be attacked by those on the far left whose opinions they care about as racists because they’re started treating Obama as a typical Chicago politician. The most dogmatic on the left who have no qualms about playing the race card will make sure any wavering media people at the sites that lean left are kept in line.

jon1979 on June 21, 2008 at 12:57 PM

No they won’t. The Newspapers are not committed to this or any other issue. They are committed to the DNC.

Kasper Hauser on June 21, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Yes, the article from AP was amazing. You would think they were writing about a Bush or something!

Barry O: all sizzle and no steak.

PattyJ on June 21, 2008 at 12:26 PM

But the article was written three months ago, when there was still interparty battles going between the Clinton and Obama forces. That meant Ron Fournier could say things like that and still have at least half the Democratic Party returning his phone calls.

There’s no way that same article sees the light of day now that the fight is between Obama and McCain, even if the substance is more important now than it was on March 17.

jon1979 on June 21, 2008 at 1:03 PM

jon1979 on June 21, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Yep. Obama’s surrogates can trot out the race card any time he needs it. He’s bulletproof. Ironically, the media helped him with that,..now they are also hostage to it. Amusing.

a capella on June 21, 2008 at 1:04 PM

I would practically die laughing if Obama managed to hurt himself enough to lose the nomination, then refused to exit graciously.

I swear, if you hear guffaws echoing across the valleys, it’s me. :)

Merovign on June 21, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Or reveal themselves as whores

I vote for that one. Who’s keeping score?

oldleprechaun on June 21, 2008 at 2:45 PM

Don’t be so sure.

That’s funny. I’m sure they will get over it. They gave him a little spanking and now they will move on. Marxism is more important than integrity.

peacenprosperity on June 21, 2008 at 3:09 PM

Many people will conclude that the print media will come back around to Obama after venting their spleen this week. Don’t be so sure.

Count me as one of those people who believe that after a weekend-long interval of teeth-gnashing, the media will go right back to carrying water for the Obama. His election over McCain is in my opinion much much more important to the media elites in this country than any thought of campaign finance reform.

Within a week, we’ll be told by MSM big-hitters not only is this issue irrelevant and Obama only did what he had to do to secure hope and change but it will be considered racist to think otherwise.

Mike D. on June 21, 2008 at 4:04 PM

This flop has only begun to flip. And the fawning msm and obamaniacs will follow him blindly.

oakpack on June 21, 2008 at 4:04 PM

But the MSM won’t start “digging into Obama”, any more than they began turning up the heat on the Clintons until after they had outlived their usefulness. For liberals, power always trumps principle.

WasatchMan on June 21, 2008 at 4:07 PM

Many people will conclude that the print media will come back around to Obama after venting their spleen this week. Don’t be so sure. They believe in the public financing system — the Washington Post’s Watergate reporting practically invented it. If Obama wins, that system is dead.

I hate to disagree with you, but the public financing system was supported by the presstitutes only because it favored liberals, and getting the most-liberal candidate possible elected is the goal of the presstitutes, not because they actually believed in it. Now that it is not needed to create an advantage for liberals, it will be thrown under the bus, not Obama.

Sure there will be exceptions, but they will prove to be far and in between.

steveegg on June 21, 2008 at 4:58 PM

The New York Sun amusingly enough seemed to be fine with Obama’s move since the public financing of campaigns is not conducive to free speech. :D

Vatican Watcher on June 21, 2008 at 6:02 PM

Will the newspapers toss Obama under the bus now?

30 thousand comedians out of work and you are applying for a job?

Wade on June 21, 2008 at 6:57 PM

Don’t be silly, mon capitán. This is merely change that is to be hoped for. Besides, these papers would have to admit that they suckered by fooled by in the tank for incorrect about Obama with their earlier endorsements.

I R A Darth Aggie on June 21, 2008 at 7:08 PM