Another month, another “Who is this Barack Obama fellow?” op-ed from Richard Cohen. This time around, the Washington Post columnist writes (emphasis mine):
What has come to be called the Obama Paradox is not a paradox at all. Voters lack faith inhim making the right economic decisions because, as far as they’re concerned, he hasn’t. He went for health-care reform, not jobs. He supported the public option, then he didn’t. He’s been cold to Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu and then all over him like a cheap suit. Americans know Obama is smart. But we still don’t know him. Before Americans can give him credit for what he’s done, they have to know who he is. We’re waiting.
As I quipped right around this time last month when Cohen wrote, “This, of course, is the Obama enigma: Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?”
Who indeed. If only Cohen worked for an organization that had people paid to gather facts and…what’s the word I’m looking for — reported them to the public — yes, that’s it! — before going all in on a candidate. Perhaps someone should invent such a business. It could combine a mass audience with a veneer of… hmmm, what’s a word that rhymes with mass? Class! Yes, that’s it.
You could print it on paper for a retro vibe and call it news on paper, a paper of news, something like that. I’m sure there’s got to be a catchier name for it, and it’ll come to me eventually. But in these days of media experimentation, such a venture could really catch on with elitist readers, particularly inside the Washington Beltway.
And of course, keep an email-only edition for 400 or so of your closest friends.
While the media’s current excuse regarding the New Black Panther scandal is that they’re just too overworked, and/or all out on vacation to take a look, Ed Morrissey reminds us that when old media wants to cover a story, they can somehow scrape together the manpower:
That’s precisely the problem — the media is waiting. While they parachuted dozens of reporters to Wasilla in order to investigate a Vice-Presidential candidate in the general election, the media didn’t bother at all to trek to the much more accessible Chicago to get any sense of Barack Obama’s politics or connections to the corrupt Daley Machine. It’s not as if the issue of corruption in Chicago was an arcane political topic, either, but the only mainstream media interested that topic were the newspapers in Chicago.
Nor did the media exactly fall all over themselves to look at Obama’s track record of leadership, or more accurately, the lack thereof. Obama rarely if ever led on any legislative activity that had notable controversy. Instead, he preferred to vote “present” on those issues, an option afforded by the Illinois legislature, and did so over 130 times during his seven years in the state Senate. In one famous encounter, an Obama campaign surrogate couldn’t name a single legislative accomplishment of note for Obama during his time in either the state legislature or the US Senate that would provide a basis for voters to trust him with an executive position at the top of the American political system. Yet the media acted as if Obama had credibility and refused to report anything that contradicted the notion.
However, there were some who continuously pointed out these shortcomings in a vain attempt to get the media to pay attention. That’s why Cohen’s “we” gets Bruce, well, we-we’d up:
Who is “we” Mr. Cohen? And where were you and your kind when the vetting process was supposed to take place. Why are you still waiting for an introduction? Why didn’t you do your job?
It’s not just Cohen who failed to do the job, but the entire American media that sold us the Obama bill of goods.
And Roger L. Simon notes that along with all the groupthink, the JournoList gang are guilty of another writing sin — boring the readers:
But forget the paucity of imagination and style, what about the group think? These are the independent minds that seek to mold our culture and political lives? Nowhere to be found is an original thought – unless you count accusing Karl Rove of racism as a brainstorm.
Well, we have had the generation gap and tons of other gaps. Now Journolist reveals we have an “elitism gap.” Gone are the days of the Algonquin Round Table to be replaced by a cabal of humdrum mediocrities on a listservr plotting how to justify the racist ravings of a reactionary theocrat.
Tom Wolfe once joked with an interviewer about creating “a writer’s Hippocratic Oath:”
“The first line of the doctor’s Hippocratic Oath is: `First, do no harm.’ And I think for the writers it would be: `First, entertain.’ Entertain is a very simple word. I looked it up in the dictionary. Entertainment enables people to pass the time pleasantly. And any, any writing — I don’t care if its poetry or what — should first entertain. It’s a very recent thing that there’s a premium put on making writing so difficult that only a charming aristocracy is capable of understanding it.”