Friday, July 24, 2009
ROADS NOT TAKEN. Yesterday I pointed out that Ed Morrissey at Hotair is a fair-minded man, which he is, but sometimes it's to a fault. He posted (to his credit) the above clip of Rush Limbaugh today, which reminded us of a warning to the MSM delivered here way back in July of 2008:
Continue being the same adoring cheerleaders you've been so far -- through the inevitable crises and missteps and blunders and failures -- and the already tottering structure of the MSM will collapse in cataclysmic ruin. You will bore your dwindling audience absolutely to death, and they will begin seeking honest news reporting elsewhere. (As they have been, btw, for some time now; how's NYT stock doing these days, kemo sabe?)
The nature of your bet thus far is idiotic -- that Obama really is the absolute answer to everyone's prayers you so want him to be. He isn't. He's a flesh-and-blood man who will stumble and err and make some truly awful decisions. When that happens, your extravagantly uncritical support for his rise to power will make you accountable to many Americans before you cover the first act of his administration. And when he does take office, the fact that you have let him rewrite all the rules of what is and is not fair coverage in political reporting will do you in no matter what course you choose. Criticize him and be branded with some of the worst labels available in these United States. (The New Yorker is anti-muslim? Anyone? Please.) Suck up to him and go rapidly out of business -- not to mention lose all the power you have so jealously acquired and used so self-righteously in the last hundred years.
Take your pick.
Ed allows the possibility that this catastrophe is underway, but he is guardedly optimistic that the tide is turning:
US News said that the print media would turn more adversarial in this press conference, though, and that may have been true. None of the questions were softballs of the Jeff Zeleny “what do you find most enchanting about being you” type from just three months ago. Lynn Sweet knew what she was doing when she offered Obama enough bait to make a foolish tactical and political mistake in giving his confessed ignorant opinion of a incident in Cambridge, which overwhelmed his health-care message and had the White House backpedaling the next day. In that instant, Sweet gave Obama enough room to implode, and Obama naively obliged.
The media have a long way to go before they can regain enough credibility to become Obama’s Waterloo, but that’s a start. When the networks start refusing to carry Obama live in prime time, put away the countdown clocks promoting him, and increase their pressure for real answers, then perhaps they can adopt the mantle of independence.
"Lynn Sweet knew what she was doing"? I don't think so. I don't think Obama knew what he was doing, either. They both suffer from the same kind of liberal tunnel vision. As do all the network media who have happily given Obama a platform for digging the hole deeper on Nightline and elsewhere. They thought they were giving him a dead-cert unassailable distraction from the political defeat his heedless push for healthcare is encountering. They thought reminding the voters of Obama's identity as a black man in a racist culture would rally skeptical Democrats to his side. I'm sure it never occurred to them that there was more than one side of a confrontation between a white cop and a black Harvard professor being hassled in his own home. They wanted us to get a glimpse of the bleeding palms of our savior president. It must have shocked the s__t out of them when the cops and the F.O.P. fought back and Bill Cosby weighed in on their side. Against Harvard?! Blasphemy.
The question was obviously a plant. Obama knew it was coming and had more clever things to say about it than any of the other topics he responded to with the uhs, ums, and ad-libbed slanders/gaffes he uttered in the press conference itself. The press is still carrying his water. The last possible area where they will ever seek to confront and ensnare him is race. We warned about that, too:
[N]ot even a left-leaning (I'm being charitable here) publication like The New Yorker is permitted to make the tiniest allusion to the topics that have been decreed off-limits. (And there are a lot of them.) All such infractions will be immediately denounced as disgraceful, personal, mean-spirited, disgusting, and, uh, racist.
That's the giant-sized stick the meticulously mild-mannered Obama carries with him wherever he goes. Venture past persiflage into substantive criticism or mockery and the stick will be applied to your noggin in a jiffy. That's the lesson no one seems to have learned from the primaries. The two most ultimately invincible figures in recent American history -- Hillary and Bill Clinton -- have both felt that stick and been knocked repeatedly to the canvas as suspected racists. Just this week, an eerily similar fate befell Jesse Jackson. He dared to criticize the perfect Obama in colorful vernacular and now he has been forced to apologize so many times that he will utter no criticism of the anointed one again.
Maybe stick isn't the right metaphor. How about brush-chipper?
All of which makes me wonder big-time if the MSM understands how huge a catastrophe for themselves all the salaaming before the Obamessiah is bringing down on their own thoughtless heads.
The New Yorker has already suffered negative financial consequences for its poor judgment. What awaits the rest of their elite brethren? If the man is elected, it's clear you can't criticize him with impunity, even with the best intentions. Start nitpicking his cabinet appointments, legislative agenda or policy decisions, and you will perish in a wave of hurt euphemisms which will make it clear to the most extreme sycophants and true believers that you are, ahem, probably a resentful racist. Watch as, one by one, the most illustrious and invulnerable of your number are disgraced into retirement for having dared to use their verbal talents against the new pharaoh. If it can happen to Geraldine Ferraro, it can happen to you, too.
As for the reduction in softball questions, surely that's a relative improvement, maybe akin to the change from whiffleball to slow-pitch Sunday softball. Nobody asked him why the American people should trust a third consecutive House bill none of the members had time to read before passing it. Nobody had the nerve to ask him the obvious followup to his saccharine assertion that he's in a hurry because people are losing their health insurance every day of the current recession: "uh, Mr. President, the 'reforms' in this bill won't even start taking effect till 2013; how does immediate passage of a slapped together mountain of federal power grabs and mandates whose unintended consequences won't be felt for years alleviate present hardships in any way?" Nobody had the guts to pursue him on his prior astonishing admission that he hasn't even bothered to read all the variations of ObamaCare that he insists be pulled together into a permanent government infrastructure revolution in just eight days.
Give me a break, Ed. The mainstream media aren't getting tough. They're still a hundred miles away from tough. And there's no real sign they're actually making any move in that direction. If they're scrambling to cover their misstep on the Gates story, that's just panic, not professionalism.
The clincher? You said in your post:
Rush has this dead-on correct, especially in the weird promotion of the press conference. Perhaps they did the same thing for George Bush, who held very few prime-time press conferences in eight years, but I don’t recall it. [emphasis mine]
uh, no, Ed, they didn't. I don't need total recall to know that. And neither does anyone else. Hell, they were pretty ostentatious about refusing to cover Bush pressers in primtetime (does the phrase "not newsworthy" ring a bell?). He gave up trying to schedule them. He was only the President of the United States, not the Second Coming of Jesus MLK Mohammed.
Measured and even-handed is fine. We applaud it. But take the scales from your eyes on the MSM issue. Please. They're still in the tank.