Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Obama Honeymoon: Can We Still Go Home to Mother?

I think I was doing okay with the transition. But once Inauguration Day got here, what with the triumphalism of the media coverage, the bad grace and mediocrity of the inaugural address, the booing of Bush and Cheney by jamulks who have now achieved representative status as “the people of this country,” the second wind liberals got to resume their attack on the now concluded Bush administration, and so on, and so on—well, I’m in a right foul mood.

Larry Elder wrote today that when someone asked him when President Obama’s media honeymoon will end, he answered:

. . . It won’t.

Oh, sure, every relationship experiences peaks and valleys. But the "mainstream media" wanted Obama to win, and helped him do so. If Obama were a stock, the media would be "fully invested."

During the Bush administration, we saw many "Big Stories" of "Bad Actions." Let's liken these stories to crimes. If Bush committed no crime, they reported an infraction. If he committed an infraction, they reported a misdemeanor. If he committed a misdemeanor, they reported a felony. If he committed a felony, they reported a capital offense. With Obama, the media reverse the procedure. Any future capital offense will get reported as a regular felony, a felony as a misdemeanor and so forth. (“Obama: The Endless Honeymoon?”).

I may also add that even when Bush committed no infractions, they still managed to report a capital offense.

Be that as it may, the historical evidence for an endless honeymoon is strong. We saw it during the Clinton years. The media were also fully invested in him, even if their boy forced them—simply forced them by his antics--to occasionally report his more scandalous behavior.

Still, the media never lost its loyalty for Clinton. Almost. The press loved Clinton--until Obama was revealed from on high and they dumped the First Black President. And then it became clear that the media’s puppy love for Clinton was nothing compared with the media's man-sized love for Barack Obama.

Remember that Romeo first was ga-ga for the cold Rosaline, whom he forgot the instant he glommed Juliet, and then it was: O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!/It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night/Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear.”

And then as Alvy said in Annie Hall when Annie asked if he loved her: “love is too weak a word. . .I luurv you.”

The media’s love for Clinton was merely earthly, as Clinton himself, after all, was only a man (but O what a man!). That wasn’t really a media honeymoon, more of a liason, more of a shack-up.

This thing with Obama is a Sacrament.

Unlike Clinton, Obama is no man. He is certainly supernatural, probably immortal, and he’s got half the atheist reporters at NPR paying off bar bets that there was no proof for the existence of a Supreme Being. This isn’t love, it’s Luurv.

Which means President Obama will be unchecked by the two institutions most necessary to slow up a runaway executive: Congress, and especially, the press.

Since Election Day a lot of optimistic folks on our side have been saying the media loves Obama now, but just wait until the economy falls apart, or terrorist attacks grow worse, or the new health care plan turns out to be a mess—No! Not going to happen. They may as well say, “maybe the cops didn’t show up when your car was stolen, but just wait till you call in a home invasion with armed robbers and shots fired, then they’ll do their job!”

None of that will matter. The media aren’t going to do their job later because they’ve already been given new jobs. The media wasn't just reporting uncritically all Obama’s rhetoric about hope and change, even as they were exaggerating every flaw in every one of his opponents: (“Brian, is it just me, or have you ever noticed that Hillary Clinton is a cold, ambitious bitch?”). They were amplifying Obama’s rhetoric a thousand times by repating it as their own rhetoric. They didn’t just report his victorious campaign, they worked for his victorious campaign; and when he won, they cheered for him like all the rest of his volunteers.

Which is why they can never turn on him. That would require turning on themselves, and they aren’t going to do that. They haven’t just “lost objectivity,” like some shine has come off their skills. They’ve lost objectivity the way a vampire’s victim loses blood—to the very last drop. And that means the only function they can serve now is to put all that Pulitzer-prize talent to work broadcasting propaganda.

Even when he treats them like this, and like this.

And because President Obama, as he showed us last Tuesday in his unworthy inaugural address, and this week in his appeasement talk on Arab TV, and when he told the Republican leaders “I won,” and when he sneered at believers with his talk of restoring “science to its proper place”--because, I say, he is not going to pleasantly surprise all of us that he is wiser, classier, or more principled than we believed during the campaign—I’m in a pessimistic mood.

As Elder writes:
The major news media saw former President George W. Bush as a villain and themselves as sheriff. Obama, on the other hand, enjoys their support. To the news media, Obama represents a combination of Martin Luther King, Gandhi and rock star. They will downplay errors, explain away mistakes, and -- if efforts fail to achieve the desired results -- they can always blame Bush.


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