Monday, April 28, 2014

Media Finally Faces Reality

Michael Goodwin at The New York Post recounts the media's role in creating and propping up a failed presidency. After citing a few examples of critical stories in a formerly fawning media, Goodwin says this:
These accounts and others like them amount to an autopsy of a failed presidency, but the process won’t be complete unless it is completely honest. To meet that test, the Times, other liberal news organizations and leading Democrats, in and out of office, must come to grips with their own failures, as well.

Obama had a free hand to make a mess because they gave it to him. They cheered him on, supporting him with unprecedented gobs of money and near-unanimous votes. They said “aye” to any cockamamie concept he came up with, echoed his demonization of critics and helped steamroll unpopular and unworkable ideas into reality.

Some of his backers knew better, and said so privately, but publicly they were all in. Whether it was ObamaCare, his anti-Israel position or the soft-shoe shuffle around the Iranian nuke crisis, they lacked the courage to object.

They said nothing as Obama went on foreign apology tours and stood silent as our allies warned of disastrous consequences. Even now, despite protests from a succession of Pentagon leaders, former Democratic defense hawks are helping Obama hollow out our military as Russia and China expand theirs and al Qaeda extends its footprint.

A king is no king without a court, and Obama has not lacked for lackeys. The system of checks and balances is written into the Constitution, but it is the everyday behavior of Americans of good will that makes the system work.

That system broke down under Obama, and the blame starts with the media. By giving the president the benefit of the doubt at every turn, by making excuses to explain away fiascos, by ignoring corruption, by buying the White House line that his critics were motivated by pure politics or racism, the Times and other organizations played the role of bartender to a man on a bender.

Even worse, they joined the party, forgetting the lessons of history as well as their own responsibilities to put a check on power. A purpose of a free press is to hold government accountable, but there is no fallback when the watchdog voluntarily chooses to be a lapdog.

The sycophancy was not lost on other politicians and private citizens. Taking their cue from the media, they, too, bit their tongues and went along as the president led the nation astray and misread foreign threats.

From the start, support for Obama often had a cult-like atmosphere. He sensed it, began to believe it and became comfortable demanding total agreement as the price for the favor of his leadership.

That he is now the imperial president he used to bemoan is no long­er in dispute. The milking of perks, from golf trips to Florida to European vacations for the first lady, is shockingly vulgar, but not a peep of protest comes from his supporters.

The IRS becomes a political enforcer, but that, too, is accepted because nobody will risk their access by telling Obama no. You are either with him or you are his enemy.

Out of fear and favor, they abdicated their duty to the nation, and they must share the burden of history’s verdict. After all, America’s decline happened on their watch, too.
Mr. Obama, we were assured by a starstruck media, would be the political equivalent of Jackie Robinson, but Robinson earned his way into baseball history through his talent. Mr. Obama is not Jackie Robinson. He's more like Chauncey Gardner in the movie Being There. This is not so much a criticism of Barack Obama as it is of a media that elevated him to a role for which he was singularly unprepared.

The media was instrumental in getting a man elected to our nation's highest office who had no qualifications for the job and whose resumé, what he was willing to reveal of it, showed no genuine accomplishments. He had never been in a leadership position, never run anything, lacked any real experience in government or foreign policy, and never even had a serious job in the private sector. It was almost inevitable that he would founder and make a mess of both our relationships abroad and our economic and social life at home. The media by promoting him as a political messiah set him up for failure.

Now they seem to be giving up on Mr. Obama and preparing to do the same thing all over again with Hillary Clinton. What a country.