When word got around that the Barack Obama campaign had decided to make room on the official plane for some new journalists, from Ebony and Jet, by booting off the reporters from three newspapers who — by an astonishing coincidence — had recently endorsed McCain, a thought that had been bouncing around the back of my mind finally jelled: now we’re finally seeing the true face of the Obama campaign — and administration.
The message being sent: you’re either with us or you’re against us.
Ever since he first announced his candidacy, Obama has enjoyed tremendous support from the press. They’ve touted him, glorified him, praised him, and covered for him. They’ve also fought his battles for him, taking on such presumptuous upstarts like “Joe the Plumber” and Stanley Kurtz and anyone else who dares risk embarrassing Obama so he won’t have to sully his saintly hands.
And in return, how has this slavish devotion worked out for them?
Ask any woman in a relationship with an abusive man.
Yeah, that sounds harsh. But I think it’s not entirely inappropriate.
Barack Obama, both directly and through his surrogates, has been presumptuous, contemptuous, deceptive, demanding, and downright abusive to the press throughout their long relationship. And in return, the press has embodied Sylvia Plath’s thought:
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.
Here are a few examples:
The infamous “sweetie” incident. Obama was in detroit when a local TV reporter (distaff, of course) asked him about what he would do to help auto workers. Obama dismissed her with a “hold on a second, sweetie. We’ll hold a press avail,” but never did.
If Obama were pretty much anyone else but a black liberal, he would have been crucified for his objectifying and dismissive behavior. But he got a pass.
Obama plans on charging hefty fees to the press who wants to cover him on election night.
Two television stations gave Joe Biden a bit of a rough time in interviews. Right after that, both were informed that they were now blacklisted with the campaign.
The endless attacks on Fox News hardly need mentioning, so I’ll hardly mention them.
And now we have the exile of the reporters from the New York Post, the Washington Times, and the Dallas Morning News from the Obama plane.
My thoughts immediately turned to the time the McCain campaign booted Maureen Dowd off its plane. On the surface, it seems a fair parallel. But then you get the differences:
1) The McCain didn’t kick the Times’ reporters off, just one opinion columnist with a history for just plain making shit up.
B) That columnist had been thoroughly vile to the candidates.
III) The Times itself has been thoroughly vile to the candidates.
d) The McCain camp was very upfront about what they did and why.
In this case, the Obama campaign weaseled around, saying that they just needed to “make room” for some folks from Ebony and Jet, and the decision on which reporters lost their seats was not based on the editorial endorsements. They didn’t spell out what it WAS based on, but it certainly wasn’t on the basis of circulation, influence, or journalistic excellence. One would be hard-pressed to find out just what the criteria was, as the only common element was that all three papers had in the very recent past endorsed McCain.
I find myself wondering — and hoping — if this could be the beginning of a great awakening of the media to the true nature of their relationship with Obama. It’s not a symbiotic one; they exist to serve his agenda, and must not under any circumstances detract from that. For a long time they were able to tell themselves that it was all right to subvert their own goals and purposes and aspirations and dreams “for the greater good,” to forfeit their own dignity and responsibilities and integrity because, in the end, it would all be worth it and the world would be a better place and they would, in the end, be honored and exalted and loved for the role their devotion and suffering and self-sacrifice in bringing it all about.
Go to any women’s shelter and ask them how well that worked out.
Yes, I’m hoping that this will be the final straw, the last wake-up call the media needs to finally face the reality it has helped shape. But I’m not optimistic.
In their endless self-sacrifices, the media has lost a tremendous amount of its former power and influence. They’ve chosen a path that has weakened them tremendously, that has cost them so much of what they once held. Newspapers are crumbling. Radio news is failing. Television news is suffering. Magazines are shrinking and consolidating. And the new alternate media (folks like – ahem – me and a lot of others far better and more influential than me) has taken a great deal of what they have let slip away.
So we end up with several possible scenarios:
1) The media decides that it’s made too many sacrifices, given up too much, and simply isn’t strong enough to try to stand on its own again, so it goes “all in” and submits completely to Obama and all the others that they have willingly surrendered to for all these many years.
2) They rally what little strength they have left and walk away from their abusers and try to put it all behind them, rebuild their lformer livelihoods and vocations, and work like hell to return to what they once had — and so willingly threw away.
3) They pull a “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”/”burning bed” and finally turn on their oppressors.
4) They suddenly realize just how badly things have gotten for them, but by then, they know the wisdom of Pastor Martin Neimoller:
“In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.”
Yes, the title is a “Tears For Fears” reference. I was inspired, in part, by the latest “literal music video” reworking of “Head Over Heels.”