This guy is good. Really good. And, frankly, so far, we’re not.
You can’t blame powerful people for wanting to play the press to peddle self-perpetuating mythology. But you can blame the press, already suffocating under a massive pile of blame, guilt, heavy debt and sinking fortunes, for being played. Some of the time, it seems we’re even enthusiastically jumping into the pond without even being pushed. Is there an actual limit to the number of instances you can be the cover of Newsweek?
If I wanted to see highly manicured image management I’d just take some No-Doz and read Gavin Newsom’s tweets. But the Obama-press dance is a more consensual seduction where, in the old-fashioned sense, we’re the girl. (In California, there’s no other option.)
Bronstein is also more than a little late to the party. Recall the interview that then-candidate Obama gave to Bronstein’s paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, in January of 2008. Obama told its editorial board, while a video camera was rolling, that “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can–it’s just that it will bankrupt them”, adding:
Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.
As I wrote the weekend prior to the election:
If the news industry wasn’t a collective Victorian Gentleman, then Obama’s quotes on coal would be screamed in 48-point Times Roman Type on every newspaper’s front page–if only because it’s an incredible story, no matter what your thoughts on the environment.
CBS’s Scott Conroy writes:
Seizing on a newly released audio tape picked up by the Drudge Report, Sarah Palin took the opportunity here in coal country to accuse Barack Obama of “talking about bankrupting the coal industry.”
But it wasn’t “newly released.” It’s been buried in the middle of an hour-long video uploaded by the San Francisco Chronicle that’s been hidden in plain sight on the Brightcove video distribution Website since January, until some enterprising blogger stumbled over it.
In the above quote, Michael Malone writes, “Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal? The editors.” And he’s right. Check out what the editors at the San Francisco Chronicle signed off on: the Chronicle uploaded the video of their interview with Obama to their Website under the narcoleptic headline of “Obama’s straight-ahead style“–meaning they couldn’t stumble over anything the senator said that they want to highlight in their headline. Which means either the writers at the Chronicle don’t know a killer story when they see one–or they’re willing to bury such a story if it helps their man get into office. (See also: media and Edwards, John; note dramatic contrast with Plumber, J.T., and Palin, Sarah.)
When the MSM moans about the gallons of red ink it’s spilled since 2001, it needs to ask itself if it’s prepared to actually report the news, in a fashion that interests readers, or if it exists as a non-profit ideological support system.
Meanwhile, another member of the legacy media has a blinding flash of the obvious, long after it could actually have any impact on his profession. Howard Kurtz writes, “Most major newspapers haven’t covered the Letterman/Palin imbroglio, and it does make me wonder whether there’s a different standard for Palin.”
Hey, somebody should make a documentary about that!
Related: Meanwhile, back at the Chronicle the slobbering love affair (to coin a phrase) goes on. Mark Morford, who last year dubbed then-candidate Obama as a “lightworker” (something akin to the Jedi Knights from Star Wars, as opposed to a senatorial slacker), this month writes that the “‘Age of Obama’ Brings Global Decline of Tangible Evil” as P.J. Gladnick summarizes.