Monday, September 1, 2008

On Our Own: The MSM is MIA

I've been thinking about Vigilante's very perceptive and disturbing analysis of today's Main-Stream-Media's pathological transmogrification, and the resulting dearth of critical, thoughtful, and thought provoking news coverage available in our country during this crucial time in our nation's political life. I also really appreciated Vigilante's posting of Frank Rich's discussion of Obama and the fact that the press is "not your friend".

Vigilante's description of the 5th Column that is arrayed against Obama, coupled with Rich's insights, are extremely disturbing. Voters, longing for news coverage that informs and educates, too often find that today's MSM, and the written press, offer neither. I grew up believing that the job of the press and the media was to provide information essential to the survival of our democracy: to set before us meals that nourished us, rather than merely offered the instant gratification of empty calories. I'd like to offfer an example from last week's MSM "reporting" as supporting evidence of the existence of the very real problems that Vigil and Frank Rich identify.

I found Obama's handling of Hillary's demands for time to celebrate herself at the Democratic Party's National Convention in Denver last week to be very revealing of who he is as a leader. Yet, in all of the ad nauseum MSM commentary about Obama and the Clintons, only one person (at least that I'm aware of) commented publicly about Obama's decision to co-share the 2008 Democratic Party's National Convention's prime time hours with the Clintons and what that suggests about an Obama Presidency.

Obama gifted the Clintons and their supporters with more actual "face time" during those four evenings of prime time than he reserved for himself, despite the "fact" (as we were continually reminded by the many pontificating MSM pundits, who daily pointed out) that there were numerous vital tasks that he absolutely had to accomplish in those few days of the Convention.

Consider the division of the prime time hours over those four days of the Convention: Michelle spoke in prime time Monday evening; Hillary and "gal pals" owned Tuesday during the day and that evening; Bill spoke Wednesday evening, after Hillary's nominee-midwifery of the roll call vote, which was successfully performed earlier that day; and Obama spoke Thursday evening.

I know of no other presumptive nominee, of either party, who would be so gracious and so generous in sharing the prime time limelight with anyone, let alone with the rival who had resorted to attacking his qualifications to run, rather than debating him on the issues (as "Esteemed Senatorial Colleagues" would surely want to do). And, remember that Hillary has provided the fodder for McCain's best attack ads, as he, like she, throws the kitchen sink at Obama just to see what might stick.

The sole commentator who considered the ramifications of Obama's response to Hillary's Convention-demands was Doris Kearns Goodwin, whom I heard responding to a question from Charlie Rose. She compared Obama's behavior vis-a-vis the Clintons to that of Lincoln's, noting that Lincoln had consciously sought out and appointed members of the opposition political party to his Cabinet on the grounds that he needed to hear (and wanted to consider) their (different) points of view in order that he might be a more effective President of all his fellow citizens. (A concept buried in the sands of antiquity by the Busheney-Rovian Cabal's 8-year long reign of duplicity, terror, and treasonous actions.)

Doris' comment was comforting to me, as I had been thinking about what it meant to me that Obama found a way to work with the two Clintons to heal the wounds inflicted upon the Democratic party during the (far too lengthy) primaries, while also furthering their differing political and personal goals.

Obama's ability to resolve Hillary's demands (for recognition and time in the limelight) suggests to me that Obama is comfortable in his own skin; that he is his own man; that he is capable, "centered", and confident; that he knows how to work with emotionally charged conflicts among and between peers; that he is able to craft compromises; that he can share power with other powerful people; and that he doesn't have to hog the limelight. In a phrase: he knows how to work and play well with others!

I submit that these qualities are qualities which he will desperately need as President of the United States of America - and, that they are qualities utterly lacking in John McCain.

I believe that we voters need to be considering the meaning of the behaviors of those who would become the President (and Vice President) of our beleaguered nation.

Ideally, the MSM would focus on two aspects that need illumination: (1) providing analysis, and information that would encourage individual voters to dialogue about the many issues facing our beleaguered country; and (2) clarifying what can be understood about the temperament of each man and woman seeking to hold the two highest offices in the land - insights that would be gained from a thoughtful study of their behaviors. Sadly, the reality is, that today's MSM just wants to sell itself.

With the abdication of its responsibilities by today's MSM and the press, voters who want to vote for Change before it's too late will just have to step up and share with one another the fruits of our own efforts to educate, inform, ponder, and discuss the issues and personalities before us.

11 comments:

  1. What an outstanding read. I find myself in complete agreement with Emily's most thoughtful analysis.

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  2. Very well stated and true. I'm no great fan of centrist politicians. But Obama showed great judgment and care in the way that he handled the Clintons. One would think that the pundits would have pointed this out. But it took a historian (Goodwin) to do it.

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  3. "Sadly, the reality is, that today's MSM just wants to sell itself."

    Well said. Ditto Vigilante's previous post.

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  4. A comparison between Abe Lincoln and Barry Obama is guaranteed to send members of the Reich wing into a frenzied temper tantrums, but let's face it. Both came from humble backgrounds, both served in the state and national legislatures, both spoke eloquently against indulging in a foreign war, and both were elevated into the White House with only a few years of experience in Washington. Like Lincoln was, Obama will be confronted with a nation divided. Lot's a luck to him. And to us!

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  5. Vig,

    Sincerely hope that that the comparison stops there... hate to inject this but if he's to become a good president, he must live in order to serve two full terms.

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  6. Good point. A somber note, Hills.

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  7. Great post Emily. You are thoughtful and serious and I have posted one for Vig that is all dark whimsy dripping sarcasm. Sorry if I embarrass you Vig. If so come tell me and I'll change the title. You'll understand at least why this photoshopped (I hope) image made me think of you.

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  8. What a great post! This was something I had completely overlooked...

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  9. On Sen McCain's speech last night, I quote Vigil's description of the good senator:

    "Sen John McCain has always been a prisoner of war... He still is".

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  10. Great post! Much needed analysis. I found an article about "temperment" in the L.A. Times ridiculous. They essentially found McCain's hot headed mistakes "bold" and Obama's prudent consensus-building decisions mysteriously myopic, or in their words, "...he's his own inkblot." The L.A. Times and every other biased MSM Co, our Congress and our administration are working in unison to keep the very rich rich, and the rest of us competing for basic resources like housing, healthcare and a good education for our kids. In other words, if anyone wonders why we are not competing with other countries, it's because we are, myopically, competing with each other.

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