PJ Media

Our Liberally Racist Media

This week, Newsweek’s Robert Samuelson covers the month-old Pew Research Center study which found that “President Barack Obama has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush during their first months in the White House.” The study — which examined over 1200 stories by the Washington Post, the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, NewsHour, and Newsweek — found more than 40 percent favorable coverage for Obama, compared to Bush’s 22 percent and Clinton’s 27.

More significant than the percentage gap itself is the conclusion Samuelson reaches:

But the deeper explanation may be as straightforward as this: most journalists like Obama; they admire his command of language; he’s a relief after Bush; they agree with his agenda (so it never occurs to them to question basic premises); and they don’t want to see the first African-American president fail (emphasis added).

If Samuelson is correct, then the mainstream media is racist. And like most liberal racists, they don’t even know it.

In the late 1990s, author Jim Sleeper wrote a book titled Liberal Racism, which presented the ways in which the effort of many Caucasian liberals to close the historical racial divide and eliminate related inequities has gone horribly wrong. Sleeper writes:

It was Congressman Major Owens, a black representative from New York City, who in 1981 first told me and other members of a small audience of liberal activists and journalists that “liberals are sometimes the worst racists.”

There are many African-Americans — including this writer — who would instantly agree with the former congressman. White liberals might be surprised at how frequently his observation is a topic of conversation among the “victims” that liberals wish to lift out of oppression.

Mr. Sleeper continues:

Only gradually did I realize that liberal racism has several dimensions. Sometimes, prompted by misdirected and self-congratulatory compassion, liberal racism patronizes nonwhites by expecting (and getting) less of them than they are fully capable of achieving. … Liberal racism ends up perpetuating double standards by setting the bar so much lower for its intended beneficiaries that it denies them the satisfactions of equal accomplishment and opportunity.

No kidding! You think?

If Samuelson is right, then the media lowers the bar for Obama by consciously deciding to provide less critical analysis of his policies and performance. Under those circumstances, any presidential achievement is suspect because it’s shrouded in media assistance, rather than merely media coverage.

It also means the results of any disastrous Obama policy that manages to pass muster in the court of public opinion can be laid at the feet of those who are supposed to be the watchdogs of our democracy.

To be fair, there must be some media professionals who would never want to be an accessory to disastrous policy such as cap-and-trade or single-payer, government-run health care. But these very same liberal media members may still be unable to write critical stories about Barack Obama or his policies, even if they don’t bear the “liberal racism” belief that the black president can’t possibly accomplish his ambitious agenda without the help of the newsroom. For that group of journalists, fear is the explanation for their absence of critical thought.

Candidate Obama’s campaign staff repeatedly showed they were not above branding Obama’s critics — see the repeated complaints by former President Clinton at having been so branded — and the candidate himself used race when he believed it to be beneficial: “They’re going to try to scare you because I don’t look like all those other guys on the dollar bills.”

Some of the president’s ardent supporters participated as well, such as Janeane Garofalo with her response to the tea parties. And we’ve also seen liberal media members attack one another when one dares to disagree with an Obama policy. Although not  related to race, Jon Stewart’s reaction to Jim Cramer’s criticism of economic policy was scathing.

No liberal media member wants to be branded a dissident of Obama, much less be accused of dissenting for racial reasons. So even the liberal reporters who don’t think Obama needs the help of the media have justifiable fear of being considered a hindrance to his agenda. And race, of course, is at the center of that fear.

Who said election of the first black president would make race less relevant in America? Whoever it was needs to think again.