What if Bush had done it?

posted at 3:00 pm on October 27, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Perhaps the American media has begun to awaken from their self-imposed trance over the election of Barack Obama.  Politico’s Josh Gerstein figures that moment cannot come too soon, although he also notes that they have a great deal of self-interest in staying asleep.  He asks whether a series of actions by George Bush would have received the collective yawn they got from the media when Obama took them, or a feeding frenzy by journalists instead (via Mediate):

A four-hour stop in New Orleans, on his way to a $3 million fundraiser.

Snubbing the Dalai Lama.

Signing off on a secret deal with drug makers.

Freezing out a TV network.

Doing more fundraisers than the last president. More golf, too.

Some of these we can answer.  When the Bush administration — specifically VP Dick Cheney — met with energy producers in confidential advisory groups to promulgate their energy policy, both the media and the Democrats went ballistic.  In fact, the latter sued to get the names of the attendees made public despite the fact that the administration is ultimately responsible for their policies.

Some of them require more speculation.  For instance, George Bush never tried freezing out a network or publicly labeling it as an illegitimate news organization.  Had he done so, perhaps with MS-NBC, the rest of the media industry would have risen in righteous indignation to demand an end to it.  In the present case, the broadcast nets did finally push back against the White House, but only in one specific instance, and for the most part have focused on whether Obama and his team are right about their assessment of Fox than in the chilling impact of having a President demand that other journalists ignore Fox.

Had Bush snubbed the Dalai Lama, the media would have ripped him for deprioritizing human rights and ignoring a man of peace.  That would have been an overreaction; the media probably got it more right than not with Obama’s postponement of their meeting, but it’s doubtful they would have given Bush that benefit of the doubt.

What does this mean?  The American media is biased?  We may as well report that water is wet, but Gerstein has a better point to make:

But others say there’s a larger phenomenon at work — in the story line the media wrote about Obama’s presidency. For Bush, the theme was that of a Big Business Republican who rode the family name to the White House, so stories about secret energy meetings and a certain laziness, intellectual and otherwise, fit neatly into the theme, to be replayed over and over again.

Obama’s story line was more positive from the start: historic newcomer coming to shake up Washington. So the negatives that sprung up around Obama — like a sense that he was more flash than substance — track what negative coverage he’s received, captured in a recent “Saturday Night Live” skit that made fun of his lack of accomplishments in office.

In other words, the press has a story line that they have to defend.  If Obama gets exposed as a flop, and worse as a typical Chicago pol, then it makes their failure to properly vet Obama during the primaries that much more clear.  In a sense, they created Obama, and his collapse would be their collapse as well.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Is it OK now to say Oblama has Dumbo ears?

tbear44 on October 27, 2009 at 4:19 PM

No, because that would insult the folks at Disney, who still haven’t released the DVD version of “The Path to 9/11″ on orders of Bill Clinton. Because it makes him look like he wasn’t doing his job for 8 years, you know?

Del Dolemonte on October 27, 2009 at 5:06 PM

What do they teach in J-school anymore, anyway? What hairspray to use?

NoDonkey on October 27, 2009 at 4:00 PM

What did they EVER teach in J-school? Cronkite didn’t go to journalism school. Neither did Edward R. Murrow. Peter Jennings? High school dropout. Sam Donaldson didn’t, either. Even Dan Rather didn’t go to journalism school.

hawksruleva on October 27, 2009 at 5:13 PM

I have to say, though, that I’m tired of the “what if Bush had done it?” question. Who cares? What if Grover Cleveland had done it?

Obama’s world is not the same as Bush’s world. Times change. We should judge events on their merits, not project and create imaginary scenarios around past Presidents.

Obama plays too much golf. The media should cover that to some extent. I no longer care how much golf any Bush ever played while in office.

hawksruleva on October 27, 2009 at 5:17 PM

Big media will pay for this “slobbering love affair”. I will never believe them again.

d1carter on October 27, 2009 at 5:23 PM

Can they retire “compelling life story”?

Cindy Munford on October 27, 2009 at 5:29 PM

Do you remember how nutty the media went when the Bush White House dared to even suggest that maybe Newsweek and others should be a bit more responsible when deciding whether to run incendiary and questionable stories that were causing Muslims to riot and kill people in other countries?

DaveS on October 27, 2009 at 5:39 PM

Big media will pay for this “slobbering love affair”. I will never believe them again.

d1carter on October 27, 2009 at 5:23 PM

Did you ever before?

tbear44 on October 27, 2009 at 5:40 PM

The “approved” media are a bunch of hypocrites… To Hell with them…

I wonder how they are going to spin the Virginia gov race when the Republican wins BIG… Hopefully “same same” for NJ…

Khun Joe on October 27, 2009 at 5:44 PM

In a sense, they created Obama, and his collapse would be their collapse as well.

I’d say they already collapsed! And when Fox starts beating out the NETWORK news, maybe they will throw out the ideologues (of course that doesn’t apply to NBC who is owned by ideologues in GE) and start reporting news.

Christian Conservative on October 27, 2009 at 7:19 PM

Big media will pay for this “slobbering love affair”. I will never believe them again.

d1carter on October 27, 2009 at 5:23 PM

After they re-structure as not for profits and feed at the bailout trough of the tax-subsidized governmenr teat, they frankly won’t give a damn if anyone watches them anymore. They’ll continue to receive their 8 figure checks (Couric) got to all the fashionable parties and be “someone” in the ekes of the “beautiful people regardless.

Archimedes on October 27, 2009 at 7:28 PM

Big media will pay for this “slobbering love affair”. I will never believe them again.

d1carter on October 27, 2009 at 5:23 PM

Did you ever before?

tbear44 on October 27, 2009 at 5:40 PM

Better late than never!

chickasaw42 on October 27, 2009 at 7:56 PM

There is ample evidence that Bush froze out MSNBC. I mean come on people. I’m as conservative as the next person but can’t we be real about the FACTS?

Constant Parrhesia on October 27, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Proof that happened, please? I think MSNBC froze Bush out, much as Air America ‘froze’ Bush out (and hinted to the advocation of assassination of him via Randy Rhodes).

A four-hour stop in New Orleans, on his way to a $3 million fundraiser.

Snubbing the Dalai Lama.

Signing off on a secret deal with drug makers.

Freezing out a TV network.

Doing more fundraisers than the last president. More golf, too.

What…no mention of the Air Force One flyby of NYC?
How about firing an IG without following proper protocol?
Trying to open a window as a door at the White House?
Leaving critical positions within the administration unfilled for almost a year after being sworn in?

But hey, David Axelrod’s no Karl Rove….right?

HAnthonyWayne on October 27, 2009 at 9:04 PM

When does the first network break down and head right to save itself? Won’t that be interesting.

Meremortal on October 27, 2009 at 9:09 PM

Leaving critical positions within the administration unfilled for almost a year after being sworn in?

HAnthonyWayne on October 27, 2009 at 9:04 PM
————–
That might be something to be thankful about, considering what those appointees would probably be perpetrating.

d;^D

Meremortal on October 27, 2009 at 9:15 PM

What if Bush had done it?

I’m slightly more concerned about this:

Brother of Afghan Leader Is Said to Be on C.I.A. Payroll
Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai and a suspected player in the opium trade, has gotten payments from the C.I.A. for eight years, American officials said.

benny shakar on October 27, 2009 at 11:19 PM

There is ample evidence that Bush froze out MSNBC.

I know what you mean. Here he is freezing out Tim Russert on Meet The Press in 2004

And here he is giving Brian Williams (NBC) the cold shoulder all the way through an interview in August of 2006

Oh, and that one time he really dug at Matt Lauer, in August 2004, on the eve of the Republican National Convention in New York City, when Lauer secured an exclusive interview with President George W. Bush

Wow, here he is giving it to Richard Engel in an exclusive interview on The Today Show

Whew . . that took eight minutes. I’m . . . BUSHED!

ace tomato on October 27, 2009 at 11:50 PM

WHoa . .no links . . stinks . . exclusive GWB interviews on MSNBC/NBC . . quickie google tour

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4209295/ns/meet_the_press_online_at_msnbc/ Tim Russert 2004

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5866571/ Lauer 2004

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14576012/ Brian Williams 2006

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/geoffrey-dickens/2008/05/19/nbcs-engel-bush-war-terrorism-has-not-made-world-safer Richard Engel, Today Show

ace tomato on October 27, 2009 at 11:53 PM

I’d better quit while I’m behind . . tried to post links to those interviews. Oh well. You can Google them as fast as I did I guess – sorry!

ace tomato on October 27, 2009 at 11:56 PM

Obama’s world is not the same as Bush’s world. Times change. We should judge events on their merits, not project and create imaginary scenarios around past Presidents.

Obama plays too much golf. The media should cover that to some extent. I no longer care how much golf any Bush ever played while in office.

hawksruleva on October 27, 2009 at 5:17 PM

Yea, that three month Obama intervention as “president elect” trying to be co-president and force release of funding by Bush was so yesteryear.

Never let that crisis go to waste.

The issue is the media bias and the fawning love affair by this turd in office now. What if Bush said 57 states? What if Bush spoke in Muslim countries and first claimed he was not muslim, then turns around and says the greatest sound of his youth were the muslim calls to prayer?

We cannot use our heat at 70 degrees, run the AC as much, eat like we did as he does all of those and more?

HYPOCRITE.

dthorny on October 28, 2009 at 12:37 AM

Leaving critical positions within the administration unfilled for almost a year after being sworn in?
HAnthonyWayne on October 27, 2009 at 9:04 PM
————–
That might be something to be thankful about, considering what those appointees would probably be perpetrating.

d;^D

Meremortal on October 27, 2009 at 9:15 PM

CrockObama has that covered by those crazy, nut house Czars. Pretty sure that is in the Constitution somewhere…being the constitutional scholar that he is.

dthorny on October 28, 2009 at 12:41 AM

http://mediamatters.org/research/200910270022

AJB on October 27, 2009 at 8:56 PM

Are you kidding? quoting Liberal Media ONLY Matters? The group OWNED BY SOROS, illegally working as a non profit corp? Who are sponsoring Obama, Clinton, ALL democrats in office today? Who have pressured GE, who own NBC and MSLSD, for fawning coverage of Obama? And, if Gov’t healthcare passes, WILL get medial record keeping rights via GE-IMAGINATION with Daschle on their board, who was to be Obama’s medical Czar? Yes, that same GE who DONATES TO OBAMA.
No conflicts here, move along.

dthorny on October 28, 2009 at 12:49 AM

Related parody: Suddenly, Dissing Dalai Lama Now “Wicked Cool” http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/10/suddenly-dissing-dalai-lama-now-wicked.html

Mervis Winter on October 28, 2009 at 9:33 AM

How about the H1N1 vaccine fiasco?
Today I heard that they might have to destroy some of the little bit they’ve produced because it sat around too long before being shipped out. (Guess who’s handling the distribution?)

If this had happened on Bush’s watch, the 1000 dead kids (so far) would be blamed directly on him.

lonesomecharlie on October 28, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Comment pages: 1 2