Kurtz: Partisan adulation in the media

If anyone doubted the bias in the media during this election, the inauguration appears to have had the singular salutary effect of proving it.  Howard Kurtz has a good look at the phenomenon up close and personal today from his Washington vantage point.  He’s having trouble distinguishing between the media and the cheering throngs, because apparently the media are the cheering throngs:

Bill Press, a radio host at WWRC-AM — now renamed “OBAMA 1260” — arranged for other liberal hosts, including Stephanie Miller and Randi Rhodes, to join a radio and television broadcast Sunday at George Washington University, complete with a live band. “We wanted to celebrate the inauguration of someone we all worked hard to get elected, and the role that progressive talk radio played,” he says. …

At what point does the recognition of Obama’s gifts and this juncture in history spill over into partisan adulation? Some journalists justify the ebullient tone by arguing that Obama is simply more fascinating than most politicians, as well as a trailblazer who is following 43 white presidents. Others say they are merely reflecting a public groundswell. Still others say Obama moves product when he’s on TV shows and magazine covers. Perhaps, more than one reporter says privately, Obama deserves the adulation, given the fact that he pulled off a political feat even harder than landing a crippled jet intact on the Hudson River.

As for liberal pundits who reflexively booed George W. Bush, are they now waving the pom-poms for Obama?

“We’re all wrestling with this,” Press says. “In the ’80s, every night I could just slam Reagan. It’s tougher when your guy is in the White House, but it doesn’t mean you support everything he does. Your role shifts to holding his feet to the fire.”

A bit harder to do when you’re broadcasting for OBAMA 1260.

At least they’re being honest about it.  MS-NBC has been the All-Obama Network for over a year, with Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews vying for Top Media Sycophant honors.  Besides, Bill Press has never given any pretense at being objective; he’s an opinion journalist, a pundit.  The problem isn’t the Bill Presses of the world — it’s the supposedly objective media, who profess detachment on air and in print, but on Facebook issue updates like this:

  • “voted for change”/”change is coming”/”yes we did”/”is thrilled.”
  • “is hoping the American people elect to leave behind the dark ages and step back into the hopeful light. It’s been a long time.”
  • “helped turn her state blue.”
  • “I live in the United States of America again.”
  • “is getting out the vote for Barack Obama.”

Kurtz finishes with this warning:

After broadcasting half-frozen from the Newseum roof, watching endless television and attending all these media parties (I know, tough job, somebody has to do it), I can report that there really is an electric feeling in the city, unlike any I’ve seen before, going back to Jimmy Carter. But on Wednesday, we’ll still be in a financial mess and mired in two wars. Nobody expects Obama to solve these problems overnight. The media will need to aggressively chronicle what he’s accomplishing and where he’s falling short.

But after the year-long mediagasm, they have little credibility left.  Who’s going to trust them to report honestly and not cheerlead for The One?  The hagiographic journalists who report on his accomplishments will sound like propagandists for the new administration, not reporters.  And it says something deeper about media bias that Kurtz detects this “electric feeling” after attending so many media parties.