« BACK  |  PRINT

RS

MEMBER DIARY

Obama’s Travesty of Leadership: The News Media Share Culpability

The Watch Dog Media Watched, But They Didn't Dog

(Promoted from the diaries)

The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan has correctly characterized the Obama administration’s Benghazi and IRS scandals for what they are: gross failures of leadership that ultimately include a bold—even boastful—policy of criminal activity (my words, not hers).

But the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen jeered at conservatives’ concerns about Benghazi, and the Columbia Journalism Review’s Ryan Chittum said Noonan has “lost it”.

She has no evidence, said Chittum.

No, Mr. Chittum. Dan Rather had no evidence. But don’t take my word for it. Ask Dan Rather and, like Dan Rather, get another career because you’re part of the problem.

News media companies can point their fingers at the Obama administration all they want. It’s suddenly all the rage, even among characteristically leftist writers and broadcasters. But to really root out the problem, the news media must point their fingers at themselves.

Before he ran for President, Obama’s short careers as a lawyer and politician were studded with events that clearly indicated a weak character that would be dangerous in the presidency: representing Chicago slumlords and getting poor people—African-Americans, no less—thrown into the street in freezing weather, and winning elections via crony David Axelrod’s underhanded means. But the news media widely chose to not publicize those events: chose to instead glamorize Obama. He was from Harvard, brilliant, a gifted communicator, even our savior: hail Obama, minus the stiff-armed salute.

Some indications suggest, and were largely ignored by most major news media companies, that even in high school and undergraduate and graduate school, Obama showed a suspect personal morality. By his own admission, he used drugs every day and skipped class in high school. His supporters, including those working for major news media companies, apparently thought this made him cool.

Since becoming president, Obama’s questionable character has shown itself repeatedly: his “green-energy” program, which looks like a means to repay rich, fat-cat campaign donors; his “fast-and-furious” gun scandal, which apparently entailed illegally selling US guns to Mexican drug dealers, so they’d use the guns to kill people and create anti-gun fervor in the US; his continual, and very public, practice of encouraging supporters to aggressively attack those opposing him, so they’d do exactly what his supporters embedded within the IRS have done. Like a common bully, he publicly jeers at and insults his opposition, and his supporters love every word of it. (They love hearing it from Bill Maher, too.) They support Obama for who and what he is; because he divides rather than unites Americans; because he seeks to publicly humiliate half the US population; because he plays dirty; because he talks a smooth line of bologna.

Throughout all of this, most major news media companies have either remained silent or even defended Obama. Thus encouraged, he became bolder. His character, already weak, folded completely, and his arrogance, which has filtered throughout his administration, has run amok: widespread, unmonitored use of drones for killing . . . some people, we don’t know for sure whom; arming Mexican drug lords; domestic spying and harassment. You name it. He’s even grossly misrepresented his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, named “Obamacare” erroneously because he neither conceived of nor wrote it. It doesn’t “provide healthcare for 30 millions Americans,” as he’s said. It provides health insurance, and the two are usually opposed to each other; health insurers work to minimize costs by minimizing and/or denying care. The federal government, already deeply into the healthcare business, is now in the health insurance business as well, and our beloved, trustworthy IRS is in charge.

All politicians are quintessentially self-interested. All presidents deny wrong-doing. Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and the Bushes all “spun” news events that threatened their presidencies. This is what all people of political stripes do; even those who aren’t professional politicians, and regardless of party affiliation. The only protections US citizens have against presidents who put themselves and their power above the law are “the watchdog media,” very deliberately protected by the First Amendment, for reasons that, if some have lost sight of them, are quite obvious now. Even congressional committees are relatively powerless if their investigations don’t get news-media support or, worse, are belittled by news media companies that, themselves, have become politicized.

In some cases—Watergate, Iran-contra, Monica Lewinsky—news media companies did their jobs. They pursued the stories, dug past the presidential “spin,” and protected American citizens from corrupt presidencies, or at least exposed the corruption. (Particularly in the Watergate and Lewinsky scandals, presidential obstruction made the situations a lot worse than they actually were.) But until now, the media have allowed and even encouraged Obama—an obviously dangerous president—to do exactly as he pleases, and that, predictably, is what he’s done.

Now, in Benghazi, Americans, including a US Ambassador, have been murdered. Former Navy SEALs, fighting for their lives, were ordered to stand down: to allow themselves to be murdered. The help they repeatedly requested was available, and it was denied. The denial apparently came from the White House, and columnist Cohen jeers and makes jokes, and the political left has a good laugh. Now the IRS, to which Americans are supposed to entrust their medical welfare, is out of control. Now Obama’s justice department has been caught tapping AP reporters’ phone lines, and Eric Holder, Obama’s hand-picked Attorney General of the United States, won’t take responsibility.

Like Obama, Holder says he doesn’t know what’s going on because, as David Axelrod said, the federal government is just too big: exactly the way Obama, Holder, Axelrod and the political left want it to be. Victory: we are “free at last” from the constraints of limited, controllable federal authority.

Yes: current events—Benghazi, the IRS,  DoJ phone tapping—are shocking. But tens of millions of Americans, whose voices most major news media companies have both deliberately suppressed and publicly ridiculed, aren’t surprised in the least . . . except by major news media companies’ firmly-established policy of ignoring, and even applauding, Obama’s well-known wrongs.

The result is that Americans don’t trust or believe in their news media as much, if not more than, Noonan says we now don’t trust our President.

So, to comprehensively address this problem, major news media companies must themselves assume a share of the blame and “clean house.” Print and air-wave news broadcasting companies must rigidly enforce journalistic professionalism, and aggressively rid themselves of reporters, editors, publishers, anchors, program directors and producers who stubbornly put politics above journalistic integrity. Through modified hiring policies, all major news media companies must forcefully create and maintain political equality and balance among their personnel.

To put it simply, news media companies must hire and promote as many from the political right as they hire and promote from the political left, and then work to minimize employees’ political feelings in all news reporting: check, double check, and if the story still smacks of partisanship, throw it out and reassign it.

They must do this on their own, without government intervention or regulation. They must do it because it is the professionally and morally correct thing to do. They must do it because it is what their nation requires; because they’re good, patriotic Americans.

This would’ve saved Dan Rather his job and impressive career. It would’ve saved all Americans from what Obama has now—again, predictably—wrought. It might’ve saved us from the housing foreclosure debacle, crushing federal debt, the ongoing recession, and the stubbornly weak job market and high gas costs that burden all working Americans; if the “watchdog media,” who like to hear themselves characterized as “courageous” and “professional,” had only lived up to their aggrandizements.

Then, and only then, will America’s news media companies be capable of fulfilling their “watch-dog” responsibilities and at least begin to win back Americans’ trust.

Get Alerts