Different candidates, different election, same media
posted at 2:19 pm on June 22, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
One criticism that conservative commentators leveled at their colleagues on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum in the run-up to the 2008 election—and especially members of the so-called elite media—was their adamant refusal to vet candidate Barack Obama. Recent developments suggest that the accusations of journalistic impropriety were not without merit. Jonah Goldberg devotes his Friday column to “Obama’s Truthiness.” Writing that “Obama was supposed to be different” from your average inside-the-Beltway politician (read: pathological liar), Goldberg presents a laundry list of Obama lies, great and small, that have come to light thanks to David Maraniss’ new book, Barack Obama: The Story and to efforts at gleaning the truth by investigative websites like Big Journalism.
But telling whoppers about imaginary racist slights or his maternal grandfather’s invented heroism as a liberator of Nazi death camps has turned out to be the least of Obama’s problems. He has, by most reasonable observers’ lights, been a poor or worse president. He faces the prospect of debating his GOP opponent, Mitt Romney, armed with nothing beyond more lies, such as the easily debunked claim that he has presided over the most austere administration in decades. His signature legislative achievement, the fate of which will likely be decided next week, is a subject he studiously avoids on the campaign trail. Likewise his unfulfilled promises to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term and to bring the unemployment rate down below the 8% mark he said it would rise to if his $825 billion economic stimulus plan were not enacted.
Somehow, in spite of all that has happened, Obama’s water carriers in the media are still fighting for his 2008 victory. The candidates have changed, the election has changed, but the media have not. Without so much as a soupçon of irony, liberal commentator Steve Erickson writes at The American Prospect that “Mitt Romney is running as the Trojan Horse candidate of 2012, the big empty gift to America who will be wheeled into the gates of Election Night only for the bottom to pop out the next morning and whatever lurks inside to reveal itself.” Has Erickson been away from the planet over the past three and a half years? Is he seriously unaware of how pot-calling-the-kettle-blackish that characterization is looking back on the history of the Obama phenomenon?
Others seek to inject race, the all-purpose Democratic fallback argument, into Obama’s flagging poll numbers. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews reliably played the race card on Tuesday with respect to the Fast and Furious investigation, asking former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown whether the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was being “ethnic.” Matthews shared Holder’s own theory (he told the New York Times in December that “this is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him”) before offering his own two cents: “I think there is a disdain on the part of some Republicans … that do talk down to the president and his friends.”
Last week, writing at Mother Jones, Obama cheerleader Kevin Drum penned an unintentionally hilarious piece about the degree to which politicians have become even bigger liars—“how you can lie pretty blatantly and pay no price since the mainstream media, trapped in its culture of objectivity, won’t really call you on it.” (Culture of objectivity?) From any other writer, that comment would seem like an indictment of the mainstream media in the 2008 election, but just to make sure his readers understand he remains a card-carrying member of the left, Drum cites a Romney “lie” as his opening example.
The 2008 election could have turned out differently. I don’t mean by this that John McCain could have won, which is stating the obvious, but that Barack Obama could have lived up to the hype. His ideas would still have been radical and thus disconcerting to conservatives, but his promise (threat?) to fundamentally transform America could have become a reality.
Had that happened, had he succeeded in doing all he said he would, he would be a cinch for re-election, and all the liberal teeth-gnashing and crusades to locate Romney’s skeletons and Achilles heel would be academic. But things didn’t turn out that way, and on some level, liberal writers should be ready to accept, if grudgingly, the truth. The fact that so many are not makes me shake my head and wonder what they’re drinking.
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- Rep. Luis Gutiérrez: ‘This is the Obama we voted for’ (Take 12?)
- Will appearance of impropriety in Obama immigration policy hurt him politically?
- Romney bully story shows MSM will shill for Obama again in 2012 election
- Barack Obama: Scatologist in chief
- WH to press corps: ‘Don’t buy into the BS’ GOP is slinging
- Has Obama at last become the one they’ve been waiting for?
- Will Obama’s newest “hard line” get him re-elected?
- Obama’s myth of transparency: game, match, set
- Obama has made good on his promise
- Obama campaign to bank on (white) liberal guilt
- Is Obama planning to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants without a Congressional vote?
- The truth behind Holder’s push for ‘electoral equality’