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Ed Driscoll

The Acting President and CBS’s Protection Racket

January 29th, 2013 - 11:51 am

60 Minutes used to have a reputation for being a hard-hitting, pull-no-punches show. But apparently, when it comes to President Obama, they’re quite content to play court stenographer. Certainly, at least one of its hosts seems pretty pleased with that notion, and with himself. Or as Larry O’Connor writes at Big Journalism, “Kroft Admits: Obama Likes Me Because I Throw Softballs:”

CBS News reporter Steve Kroft has been deemed President Obama’s “Go-to Interviewer.”  Appearing on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight he divulged why the President likes him so much:

“(Obama) knows that we’re not going to play ‘gotcha’ with him, that we’re not going to go out of our way to make him look bad or stupid.”

That reminds so much of a quote that Woody Allen told his biographer in 1991, arguably at the apex of his directorial career, five minutes before the words “Soon-Yi Previn” became a household name, as he was coming off films such as the nihilistic Crimes and Misdemeanors, a surprise hit, and Another Woman, a challenging melodrama starring Gena Rowlands and Gene Hackman:

I have unorthodox contact with actors, but I do have a method. I’m not just hiring good people and am unable to relate to them. My approach may be strange and appear haphazard, but the performance I get from actors is one of the strongest things I do. [snip] No matter what people might say about Interiors or Another Woman, they always extol the cast, because I can recognize terribleness. So Gene Hackman — not that he would worry — can come on the picture for his one week’s work in Another Woman and rest assured that he will be protected, that he will not be made to look bad.

And protecting the president and not making him look bad — but only when he as a (D) after his name — is the name of the game at CBS as well. (Neither President Bush received a similarly kid glove treatment from CBS, of course.) Of course, it’s not just CBS: MSM journalists in general, faced with telltale Kinsley-esque gaffes from Obama, such as promising to bankrupt the coal industry, or when a Rev. Wright eruption threatens to derail his campaign, or in this case, when Benghazi might embarrass him (and/or Hillary) are more than happy to neuter their own reporting instincts. But then, as Ace recently wrote, “What we are witnessing is the full and seamless fusion of media power with government power.” Which is why getting a good acting performance out of the president’s cameo appearance — and thus staying in favor at the White House — is far more important than playing gotcha with him:

The media used to hide it a bit, in their actions; they would temper their scorn of conservatism, throw them a bone now and again just to prove they were capable of such a thing.

No longer. The media no longer hides it in their actions. They are fully fused with the Obama Administration and DNC. The only way in which they do hide it is by simply lying when confronted about it: They’ll issue a snide denial, then go about doing precisely what it is they were accused of doing.

This is dangerous and unhealthy. I keep banging this drum but honestly, some patriotic billionaires do have to band together to purchase or build a media outlet. The outlet would be founded upon a simple premise: that it is dangerous and ultimately fatal for democracy for media power to fuse with government power, that the adversarial press is vital.

Given that the end result is that the MSM keeping Obama afloat ends up screwing his opposition, then in their minds, journalists  really have “afflicted the comfortable,” so it all works fine, right?

Related: At Hot Air, “Krauthammer: FOX News should be proud that we annoy Obama so much:”

I love to hear the president whine about FOX News and talk radio. I think we ought to be proud of the fact that we annoy him so much. If you look at the line-up on one side, the liberal media, you start with ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS, MSNBC, the elite newspapers, the one remaining news magazine, the universities, Hollywood — it doesn’t stop anywhere. And on the other side, talk radio, FOX News. And they can’t stand the fact that they no longer have a monopoly.

So, I think it ought to be taken as a compliment. What I’ve always said about Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, their genius was understanding and locating a niche audience in broadcast cable news, which is half the American people. The half that have suffered for decades by the fact you get the news presented from a single perspective over and over again.

Finally, the fact that there is a new perspective, talk radio and FOX, and they can’t stand it. It’s a source of pride, I would say.

And incidentally, old media’s reaction to Fox and talk radio is a pitch-perfect example of Krauthammer’s Law from a decade ago in action: “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.” The latter half of the formulation is the mantra that the left — both the MSM and Obama — mentally employ every day to justify their worst excesses.

Which is the topic of Neo-Neocon’s newest post: “The press: insight gained from going over to the dark side.”

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