The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


A few posts back, I wrote about the blantant, even shameless, pro-Obama bias that has pervaded mainstream media coverage during this presidential campaign. It now appears that even some liberal media veterans are beginning to notice and express alarm. Howard Fineman, the editorial director of The Huffington Post (no enemy of Barack Obama) and a regular on MSNBC (need I say more) writes:
... the president is well ahead on the Electoral College trends.

He has managed to do all of this without having to seriously and substantively defend his first-term failed promises or shortcomings, and without having to say much, if anything. about what, if anything, he might do substantially differently if he is fortunate enough to win again.

Unless I missed it, the president has yet to give a detailed answer to why he has failed to meet or even come close to his promises about reducing the unemployment rate. Saying that the task was harder than he initially thought isn't (or shouldn't be) a convincing explanation.

He hasn't given a detailed answer as to why he and his top advisers, led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, failed to focus sufficiently on reviving the housing market, rather than just bailing out banks.

He hasn't explained why his own administration is now saying that at least 6 million Americans, most of them in the middle class, will indeed face a tax increase (penalty) in 2014 if they do not buy health insurance -- a new estimate substantially higher than earlier ones.

He hasn't explained whether he shares any blame for the failure of budget talks on a grand compromise. And if the art of presidential leadership is to cajole your foes into doing deals they don't want to do, what are we to make of his famous charming effectiveness?

He hasn't given a detailed defense of the vast expansion of the security state under his watch -- a policy that, in effect, has doubled down on the global war on terror-based approaches that his predecessor, President George W. Bush, initiated.

He hasn't given a detailed explanation for why he didn't close Guantanamo, as he had promised he would.

He hasn't said how, even with a Simpson-Bowles-style budget deal, the country is going to seriously grapple with long-term unfunded liabilities in the tens of trillions.

I could go on.

But the real question is why has he been able to butterfly along thus far?
Fineman goes on to state that the Romney campaign has been ineffective in calling him of these matters, but I would add that it's extremely difficult to do so when the media characterizes every Romney critique of the president's record as an "attack" and refuses—outright refuses—to explore any of the issues that Fineman notes in the preceding quote.

Fineman is not oblivious to this. He writes:
Obama was such a cool and uplifting story to so many in the media in 2008 that they essentially ceded ground to him that they have yet to reclaim. He ran a tightly controlled message campaign then, and has run an even more tightly controlled White House, with few press conferences and deep access only to those most likely to write positive stories. Univision didn't get the memo, and its reporters hammered the president about immigration last week. It was a rare moment. But, again, it was one upon which Romney could not capitalize. The last thing Mitt wants to do is start a debate on immigration, given how obnoxious his stance is to most Latinos.

The hard-hitting Univision interview provided an opening for the MSM to explore Obama's lack of action on immigration. During the interview he had the audacity to claim that he didn't have the time or the votes to get the job done, conveniently forgetting that he had overwhelming majorities in both houses of congress for two years. Did the MSM pursue this? All we heard was ... crickets.

On occasion the media will ask one or more of Fineman's questions in an effort to appear objective. But they are less than enthusiastic about pursuing an answer, allowing Obama to filibuster without aggressive follow-up. They rarely fact check the President's responses, and provide little or no context that might call his continual stream of excuses into question. They are, to put it bluntly, in the tank for Barack Obama.

Update (9/26/12):

As if to emphasize the pernicious nature of media bias, this morning's YahooNews is running a lead story with the headline" "Why Plane Windows Don't Roll Down, as Romney Would Like." The story quotes Romney asking why plane windows don't roll down. It provides a condescending discussion of the reasons why and then states that Romney was not joking, but was serious. Then, at the very end of the piece, this update:
Update: Romney was joking. The New York Times' Ashley Parker, who wrote the original report about the Beverly Hills fundraiser that quickly got spread around the Web, told New York Magazine today that Romney had been joking. Parker said that while her report didn’t explicitly indicate Romney was joking, “it was clear from the context” that he was.

Can you imagine in your wildest dreams that YahooNews would have reported a similar joke by Obama as anything but a joke. In fact, if past history serves, the media tries to protect the president from his many gaffs by re-interpreting them in the best possible light. With Romney—not so much.