Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

The media is in the tank for Obama.

Ever since there has been a conservative movement, conservatives have complained of liberal media bias.  Over the years, these protest have become stronger and the counter-arguments weaker - ten years ago, CNN was commonly derided as the "Clinton News Network", for example, because of their full-throated advocacy of whatever Slick Willie happened to be up to at the moment.

Since the advent of the Internet, proofs of bias not only abound but are easily displayed.  Twenty years ago, most viewers would have only their own memories of a broadcast, or possibly a transcript; even if you had a recording of a biased broadcast, there was no way to show it to more than a handful of friends in your living room.  Today, youTube allows every man to be his own mass-medium as long as he has something worth saying.  The entire country can be subjected to the enlightening picture of Chris Matthews feeling thrills up his leg when Obama speaks.

Early this year, it was apparent that the days of the mainstream media's pretense of impartiality were drawing to a close.  Even Scragged, however, did not expect it to happen quite so fast as it has.  With this week's Victory Tour of Europe, featuring President-by-Acclamation Obama carried aloft through the Old World on the backs of an adoring media, even normally liberal journalists are feeling a little queasy.

It's clear that the overwhelming majority of national pundits would sell their souls - in fact, already have - to see Obama in the Oval Office; the MSM barely even bothers to debate this point anymore.

Obama has regularly enjoyed twice as much coverage, virtually all favorable, as either Hillary or McCain; the occasional banana peel he's slipped on (e.g. Rev. Wright) had to be waved in front of the entire country by the Internet before the broadcast media deigned to take a look.  The fury and impotent frustration of the Clintons was amazing to behold, they having previously been consistent beneficiaries of the bias who did not expect to be out-liberalled by an ingenue.  So turns the worm.

The only question remaining is: will it work?  The media clearly believes that their worshipful, adulatory, wall-to-wall coverage of a triumphant Obamessiah, gathering propagandistic strength not seen since Joseph Goebbels reported "news" about der Fuhrer, will sweep him into total power.  They believe that the American people will sleepily look at the TV, feel the love, and be irresistibly moved to share it.

We're Not So Dumb

For some people, no doubt, they are right.  But "some" is not enough.  A recent Rasmussen Reports poll found that 49% of Americans - just shy of half - have discerned that the media are actively trying to help Obama win.

As astoundingly high as that number is, what's even more shocking is that the number has gone up 5% in just one month.  That 5% jump was before the recent incident in which the New York Times uncritically published a self-adulatory "editorial" by Obama and refused to publish McCain's response.

One can only wonder how much higher the number has grown since then; no doubt Rasmussen will tell us in due time.  In the much-disputed middle ground of undecided voters, it's noteworthy that exactly half see media coverage as incorrigibly pro-Obama.

The polls show similar effects on individual issues.  Despite the derision heaped on ex-McCain advisor Phil Gramm when he said that American was experiencing only a "mental recession," there appear to be a great many voters who agree with his analysis.  Fully half of us feel that reporters are intentionally painting a grimmer economic picture than is justified by the facts.

That number is surprisingly low; how many times have we heard that we are in a "recession" when the most recent numbers show the economy to be still growing?  Yes, growing anemically; but growing nonetheless.

Americans are worried, and with good cause; but they know the difference between a slowdown and an actual recession.  The more the media try to take sides to promote their own agenda, the more Americans detect the lies and resent them.

Even when the media are not saying anything at all, the TV is still showing pictures.  In the modern telegenic age, control of imagery is immensely powerful.  There has been an amazing rash of "messianic" photos of Obama published by the media, which naturally contributes to the impression of media bias.

On the other hand, John McCain is cast routinely as an old guy in a golf cart.

We Fought A Revolution...

The very nature of Obama's trip overseas is a blatant attempt to cast him as Presidential and close his "credibility gap."  This seems to have had an interesting effect on his staff, as Politico reports:

At a morning background briefing, reporters parried with senior advisers on the characterization of Obama's speech Thursday in Berlin as a campaign rally. The outdoor speech at the Victory Column could draw thousands of people, similar to the size of Obama events in the United States.  "It is not going to be a political speech," said a senior foreign policy adviser, who spoke to reporters on background. "When the president of the United States goes and gives a speech, it is not a political speech or a political rally. "But he is not president of the United States," a reporter reminded the adviser. [emphasis added]

Yes, it's all so easy to forget, isn't it - Obama is not President.  He's not even the official nominee of the Democratic party!  Perhaps the media believe that "wishing will make it so."

In using the backdrop of Europe to make Obama appear Presidential, the media are running a grave risk that they may not fully understand.  Our liberal elites have long looked to Europe as the model we ought to follow: high taxes, socialized health care, pusillanimous pussyfooting on the international military stage, and so on.  Obama already has these folks in the bag; there is no need to persuade them any more thoroughly than they already are.

As rich and powerful as many of them are, though, they may not quite grasp how thoroughly their views are not shared by middle America, the exact demographic where Hillary repeatedly clobbered Obama right up until her very last day.  The polls are already revealing this problem: Rasmussen tells us that 63% of Americans think Obama's world tour makes him no more fit to be President, just the opposite of the message the media would have us believe.

If Europeans could vote for the American President, Obama would win in a landslide dwarfing even Ronald Reagan's, but they don't.  And for a good reason: history buffs may recall we fought a war over just that issue some centuries back.  We need only look at the 2004 election for an illuminating example of what comes of forgetting the past.

Four years ago, Europeans viewed George W. Bush much as they and the Democrats do today: as a warmongering criminal.  When presented with the prospect of replacing him with an urbane, cosmopolitan, socialist elitist, their enthusiasm knew no bounds.  Alas, that the American hicks might not understand the transcendent virtues of John Forbes Kerry!

Lest this sad deficiency in the American electorate go unaddressed, the British Manchester Guardian newspaper swung into action with "Operation Clark County."  Clark County, Ohio, was one of the counties that Gore had won by a whisker in 2000; the plan was for British readers of the Guardian to post personal letters to Clark County voters (addresses thoughtfully provided on the Guardian website) extolling the virtues of their chosen candidate, in hopes of giving Kerry enough margin to carry the state.  More than 11,000 did.

In the fullness of time, the responses came wending their way back across the pond.  Slate's Andy Bowers reports what happened next:

Americans who had heard about the project (most of them not from Clark County) fired letters back at the Guardian. A few were appreciative. Many more were vicious. The paper printed some of them under the headline "Dear Limey A**holes."

The answers were scatological, medical, orthodonic, historical, surgical, genealogical, sexual, ethnological, and on and on in that infinite variety of base profundity at which Americans excel.  Suffice it to say that middle Americans do not care to be told what they ought to think by their own elites; when the losers of the American Revolution presume to do the same, the results were explosive.  The final 2004 election results showed that

Kerry won every Gore county in Ohio except Clark. He even increased Gore's winning margin in 12 of the 16. Nowhere among the Gore counties did more votes move from the blue to the red column than in Clark.

There is nothing more invigorating than giving a speech to the ovations of tens of thousands of adoring fans, but cheers from non-voters don't count on Election Day.  The harder the media try to throw the race to Obama, the more difficult they will find their self-appointed task to be.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments
Funny, looks like FEWER people think Obama is fit for Commander-in-Chief today than did before he took his Victory Tour.

August 1, 2008 3:36 PM
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