This opinion column appears in the March 29, 2009 Daily Journal newspaper. Share your opinion in the comments section below.
Do you remember a few short years back when Trent Lott was forced to resign his position as Senate majority leader? Lott joked at a private birthday party for aging colleague Strom Thurmond saying that the country would have been better off had Thurmond been elected president when he was a younger man. But because Thurmond was a segregationist in his earlier years, as were so many politicians who later saw the error of their ways, the liberal media took from that joke that Lott was saying America would have been better off without civil rights for black Americans. Within a day civil rights groups and the Democrats were calling for Lott to resign. Just a short time later Lott’s own party joined the chorus and so he did, in fact, step down as the leader of the senate.
What Lott said, with a long reach, could have been construed as insensitive by opportunists, I suppose. But, honestly, what he was doing was simply paying an old man a kind word at his birthday party. He meant no harm towards anyone. But Lott was demonized by the press and treated as if he was a pariah after that.
Contrast that with what President Barack Obama said on national television a week or so back. He was on the Jay Leno show when the subject of the bowling alley at the White House came up. Talking about his lack of bowling skills, Obama made the remark about his game: “It was like Special Olympics or something.” And the studio audience laughed heartily.
And the liberal media and Democratic Party leaders had this reaction … insert sound of crickets here.
Here you had the president of the United States comparing himself in a comical way to developmentally disabled children – in short, making fun of their awkward physical movements which they can’t help – and no one in the liberal media or the Democratic Party wants their pound of flesh? Why the silence?
It should be noted that the president did call the head of the Special Olympics from Air Force One on the way back to Washington and apologize for his insensitive remarks.
Did Obama intend anything malicious towards Special Olympics participants? No, he did not. It was just an off the cuff remark that he should not have made. Especially on national television and especially when he is president.
So Obama gets a pass for his insensitive gaffe where millions of people are watching, a one day news story, yet Lott gets hounded for weeks and all but gets run out of town for an innocent remark he made at a man’s private birthday party?
So blatant is the mainstream media’s affection for Barack Obama that some have called this era the end of traditional journalism. Emmy Award winning journalist Bernard Goldberg, whom I had the opportunity to interview on radio recently, has a best-selling book out titled “A Slobbering Love Affair: The True and (Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media,” which documents this in great detail. Goldberg is not a political conservative, but found offensive and unprofessional the manner in which his colleagues have been in bed with liberal politicians, especially Obama. Traditional journalism teaches that the news media should play the role of “watchdog” of politicians and the government, regardless of which political party happens to be in power.
Can you imagine what would have happened to President Bush had he gone on 60 Minutes and laughed out loud when asked about the terrible condition of our economy as Obama did? The interviewer even asked him if he was “punch drunk.” If that had been a Republican president, the New York Times headline would have read: “Devil Bush Laughs in Face of Suffering Americans.”
How about the fact that Obama bashed Bush unmercifully about the war in Iraq and promised emphatically to bring the troops home in 16 months. Then when he gets elected, he changes to 18 months and says will leave as many as 50,000 troops in Iraq. Leaving 50,000 troops, a third of what we have now, is not ending the war. He is doing nothing more that what President Bush would have done and that is listening to his commanders on the ground. Do we hear a hue and cry from the liberal media about this? No, we hear more crickets.
The one positive in America today is that we have alternative news sources in response to what was once an industry controlled by just a few big agencies. Because the national mainstream news media will not be scrutinizing the Obama administration in the same way they would any other president because they are his political and ideological soul mates. And that is not good for our democratic process or for traditional journalism in America.
Tim Wildmon is a community columnist who resides in Baldwyn. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.