Thursday, July 17, 2008

Obama and the Three Anchors

"Ooooosaaamaa- Ti aaaamo"

(OK, all you feminists, save your cards and letters. There were no women among the Three Tenors.)

Like a recent American college grad doing the obligatory summer tour in Europe, Barack Obama is about to "do" the Middle East this summer. The purpose? To give himself creds for knowing the region and what should be done in Iraq. Fine. I have no problem with Obama going to see the situation first-hand. Now, however, it has been announced that the three major news networks are sending their anchors along to cover the trip (Charles Gibson-ABC, Katie Couric-CBS and Brian Williams-NBC).

The question begs to be asked-why?

Did these three network superstars accompany John McCain to Iraq? Of course not. So why are they all going along on this trip? The answer is easy.

All three networks are doing this as part of a huge campaign rally for Obama.

That's right. Long ago, it was obvious that the mainstream news media wants Obama to be president. They wanted him to win the Democratic nomination, and now they want him to win the general election as well. Their coverage of his travels, activities and their interviews with the candidate will all be designed and programmed to show that Obama is presidential when it comes to national security and military matters-which he of course is not.

So here is what viewers should look for when the Three Anchors take turns interviewing Obama at the end of each day's activities: Will they ask him hard questions, such as what would he do if (after the troops are pulled out of Iraq) Iran moves in, Al Qaida takes over, Iraqi supporters of the US effort are massacred, etc? Will they hit him with hard follow ups when he starts to stumble his way around answers? Or will they throw up softballs designed to allow Obama to hit homers and return home in triumph after showing the public he is ready to be president and deal with the war issues?

Well, Gibson may do the right thing since he did hit Obama with some hard questions in the debates, but Couric and Williams? Don't bet on it.

To those who watch this exercise in propaganda on TV, I hope you will think long and hard about the propriety of the major news organizations brazenly promoting a particular candidate. I hope I will be proven wrong, but I don't think so.


Lance Christian Johnson said...

Will the media ask hard-hitting questions? Is the Pope Buddhist?

While I still don't buy into the whole "liberal media" thing (I think that's too simple of a way to look at it - it's corporate, and they'll swing whichever way is convenient rather than actually concern themselves with reporting facts) I do agree that the media is definitely pro-Obama.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he's an easier sell as he's got a real "feel good" vibe about him (which has partially been created by the media itself - but they have to work with what they've got). McCain has that grumpy-old-man thing about him which dogs him, much like the problem that Dole had. Of course, this is a lousy way to choose who you want for President - but I think that's what a lot of people do.

Gary Fouse said...

I think you miss the point. The media wants Obama to win because he is a liberal Democrat, which about 80% of the media is.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Then why did Bush win? Why do most Americans believe that Al Gore claimed to have invented the internet? Why do so many Americans believe that Iraq attacked us on 9/11? Why do most Americans think that creationism is science? Why weren't any tough questions asked before we invaded Iraq? Why did it take thousands of American lives until people started to actually question why we were in Iraq? (That one's actually a perfect example of how the media will play to both the conservatives and the liberals!)

This whole "liberal media" thing is too simplistic. The media sucks, and they cater to the whims of the masses so they can sell crap that people don't actually need. Actually informing people on issues and facts is a pretty low priority.

You gotta look beyond this whole liberal versus conservative thing. Shoot, that's a creation of the media too! The problem is far more complicated and nuanced than that!

Come on, you're enough of a student of history to know how powerful propaganda is. If the media was simply liberal, then Republicans would rarely ever get elected to anything other than dog catcher!

It's like the Bill Hicks bit. There are two puppets. Some people say, "I agree with the puppet on the left!" Others say, "I agree with the puppet on the right!" The same guy has his hand up both their rear ends! (It's funnier when he does it.)

Ingrid said...

Gary, nobody stumbles around with answers like Bush, it is embarrassing. Why don't you hold that against him as you do with Obama. Nobody can predict the future and how he or any other president would handle unforseen conditions or confrontations. Enough of this republican arrogance, this bitter old man McCain. I am a conservative democrat and I want Obama, because he is willing to listen, which know-it-all Bush and McCain are not.

Gary Fouse said...


Actually, Bush's lack of articulation drives me crazy because he is unable to really get his message across effectively when he doesn't have a speech in front of him.

But I don't think that is because he doesn't have a firm grasp of his beliefs, which he does. With Obama, it appears he is trying to find a middle ground in order to get moderate votes. What he believes and intends to do is another matter because he is solidly to the left. If so, he should proclaim it proudly (as we conservatives do) and tell us his plans. Instead, he is being disingenous.

If you consider yourself a conservative, my question is what do you see in the Democratic party and Obama that appeals to you?

I am a conservative. That comes way before any party affiliation. In fact, I don't belong to any party.

Gary Fouse said...


So many questions, so little time. Bush won in spite of the fact that the msm called Florida for Gore prematurely and before the Panhandle polls closed (which they knew would go for Bush). Also in spite of the fact that Dem lawyers challenged and had thrown out hundreds of overseas soldiers absentees ballots-with not a peep of outrage from the msm.

Sorry Lance, but if you look at nbc, abc, cbs, cnn, msnbc, NYTimes, and most other major newspapers, they are almost all liberal, and their reporting shows it. All we poor little conservatives have is talk radio (which Congress wants to destroy with this so-called Fairness Doctrine) and Fox News (which has many liberal voices than any other network has conservatives).

People think Iraq was involved in 9-11? What about the loons who think that Bush orchestrated 9-11?

As for the dogcather bit, I can turn that around on you. If it were not for the msm, the Dems wouldn't get elected as dog cather.

And most importantly, who the hell is Bill Hicks?

Lance Christian Johnson said...

You know, Gary, there are a lot of studies that debunk the whole idea of it being a "liberal media". Whatever though, I think that whether it's liberal or not misses the point as to what's wrong with it.

First though, let me point out that a vast majority of people thought that Iraq attacked us on 9/11 before we went in there. Where would they get this idea from? As for the loons who think that Bush/The CIA/whatever, they've always been a wacky fringe group, and to compare the two is completely disingenuous. (I will say though that one of the problems with the media is that they even give these nuts any legitimacy.)

Okay, you're not going to let go of the "liberal media" bone. Let me try to appeal to you like this:

1. My newspaper has had articles on things like "ghost hunters" and psychics about once every few months now. These articles are not regulated to the entertainment section, but to the actual news section. Also, various cable news channels will have "psychics" on - who claim to have helped solve police cases. (A bit of research shows that all these people do is waste the time of the cops.)

My question to you is: do you believe that it's irresponsible of the media to treat these things as though they were legitimate?

My follow-up questions are: if you agree with me that it is irresponsiible, would you see this as a problem of the media being liberal? Conservative? Something else entirely and neither one of those criteria quite covers it? What?

Also, I'll once again bring up my pet issue. How is it that a guy like Ben Stein can go on various "news" shows (and Fox is not the only one guilty of this) and say that he researched evolution, and say things like how at the universities, they use evolution to explain gravity? And nobody fact-checks him on that? Absolutely nobody says to him, "Ummm...actually, what you're saying is not just factually incorrect but patently absurd! Why are we even talking to you?"

Do you agree that it's a problem that the media doesn't care to fact check? Is this a problem with liberals? Is it a problem with conservatives?

The way I see it, the problem goes way beyond that. The whole issue of the "liberal media" is one giant distraction to get people to miss what the real problem is - an irresponsible media.

Oh, and Bill Hicks was a great, insightful comedian who died before his time.

Gary Fouse said...


You might catch me being uninformed on this one, but I don't recall the Bush Admin telling us that Iraq was connected to 9-11. There may have been claims of connections between Iraq and Al-Quada (certain AQ figures had found haven in Iraq, etc)

Of course, there is no lib-cons tint to ghost hunters and psychics. I have a better example. The History Channel regularly puts on segments that advance the UFO stuff. That is stupid.

You know, sometimes, it's not what you report, but what you don't report. Most of the biggest and most embarrassing stories about liberals and Democrats have come from non-msm (Lewinsky, Jeremiah Wright etc).

It is a fact that the MSM decides what is news and how much coverage to give it. Front page or back page. The NY Times for example, put abu-ghraib on its front page dozens of times. How much coverage does the msm give to the successes in Iraq-the schools that we build, the electricity and water that our troops set up for Iraqis-or the success of the surge and how much of the country now controlled by the govt? It is ignored or buried in a back page.

Why is it that the Jesse Jackson coverage is mostly on Fox or conservative blogs? The liberal press wants to poo-poo it. Yet, if those comments had been made by a conservative, it would be front page every day. There is a clear double standard in the media.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I don't recall the Bush Admin telling us that Iraq was connected to 9-11

Gary, there are ways of saying things without saying them directly. They did directly call Hussein an "ally" of Al Quaeda though.

Still, the question remains - why would the overwhelming majority think such a thing? Where are they getting their information from - other than the media?

As for things getting buried on the back pages, I remember during the first war with Iraq, there was a huge protest against it (I'm bad with numbers, but it filled the streets). That got buried on the back page of the newspaper. What got front page? A dozen or so pro-war demonstrators.

Also, when the protests for this current war started, the media focused on the tiny minority of vandals (who were probably just going to make trouble no matter what the cause was) instead of the thousands who were marching peacefully.

We could play this game forever. Speaking of buried on the back pages - are you aware of how bad things are getting in Afghanistan? I only know about this when I scour the back pages - hardly headline news.

Gary Fouse said...

I don't know where ill-informed people get their news. Actually, I was in Spain during the first week of the Iraq invasion. I sure didn't get any positive vibes from the European news, including CNN International, which had me fearing we were losing the war from all their negative reporting.

As for Afghanistan, we have a hard choice. Either we pressure the Pakis to go in and clean house or we have to do it ourselves. The tribal areas are shielding Al-Qaida and bin Laden. This cannot continue. You cannot win a war when the enemy has a safe haven.

You cannot deny that we have given two nations the opportunity to live in freedom. Whatever you think of Bush, he has taken out two of the most odious regimes in a long time. He will always have that on his resume. If they (Afghanistan and Iraq) cannot or will not do their part, than it is tempting to say screw 'em. Yet, the World-not just the US-but the world cannot allow these two countries to be terrorist nations.

If we truly had the UN and NATO on our side, we could win. Yet, much of the world chooses to sit back and wring its hands. It is easy for other countries to blame Bush and the US-when they have done nothing to help.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I don't know where ill-informed people get their news.

I do - The media! (Where else? The town crier?)

As for Afghanistan, we have a hard choice. Either we pressure the Pakis to go in and clean house or we have to do it ourselves. The tribal areas are shielding Al-Qaida and bin Laden. This cannot continue. You cannot win a war when the enemy has a safe haven.

I fully agree. It was interesting that when Obama suggested that we go into Pakistan if we had positive intelligence on Bin Laden's location, pundits like Hannity kept claiming that he wanted to "bomb our allies".

It is easy for other countries to blame Bush and the US-when they have done nothing to help.

Again, agreed.

But hey, to get back to the whole media thing, like I said, I don't think I'm going to get you to let go of the whole "liberal media" argument, but let me ask you the following: 1. Do you agree with me that we have a problem of a media that's irresponsible? (You know, not bothering to fact-check and whatnot). 2. What's worse - being irresponsible or being biased? (Of course, they're not mutually exclusive ideas, but which do you find more offensive?)

Gary Fouse said...

Question 1- yes, I agree.
Question 2- What's worse? To me it's 2 rolled up into one. The media is irresponsible because it is biased.