Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On The Slippery Slope

I try to avoid writing about politics, but I was disturbed about this.

Did any of you watch the Presidential news conference last night? I did. I have to say that I wasn’t terribly impressed. In looking at today’s news stories, I can see that the media was all over the place in their view of how it went. This isn’t terribly surprising – neither is the scale of reporting from the news outlets themselves.

I read news from a number of sources, but there were two reports on the news conference that stood out in their viewpoints: the reporting from Politico and the reporting from CNN.

This shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone. If you read both accounts of the news conference (others as well), you’ll notice that there are some serious differences in the reporting itself. As there should be; these outlets have not just their own view but they also have their own markets that they cater to. But there are things I noticed with respect to style that stuck out.

First, the reporting from Politico, I thought, was an interesting mix of presenting what happened and presenting opinion. Definitely seemed to me to be rather anti-Obama in parts, not so much in others.

Weird. But at least the reporting seemed to do a pretty good job of catching what was “between the lines”, so to speak.

On the other hand, the CNN reporting came off, at least to me, as being somewhat more objective. But if you look at the story closely, you will see that it is not as objective as it seems. It seemed to favor Obama more under the surface. At least that’s how it looked to me.

I’ve heard people jokingly call CNN the “Communist News Network.” There are times, however, that when it comes to political reporting this is not funny. It’s actually rather accurate.

In my own view of how it went, I have to say that Obama definitely has a lot of native intelligence and can put sentences together quite well. On the other hand, how much of what he gave for answers was tailored to the news organizations who asked him questions? Did you notice that he didn’t call on reporters from either the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal? What’s up with that? I don’t care that he questioned a reporter from Stars and Stripes – you knew he’d customize an answer for them – but I don’t understand the snub to the larger newspapers. And was there a mix of viewpoints from media outlets represented? I’m not sure, but it seemed to me that there was an imbalance, in terms of what organizations he called on. I didn’t see much representation from the conservative media present. I could be wrong about that, but it seemed to be really one-sided to me.

That begs asking the following question: are we at the top of a political slippery slope? I hope not. However, a lot has happened recently that makes me suspect that if we’re not there yet then we’re awfully close to stepping off. It also says to me that I as a voter was deceived back in November. And if I’m right, that makes me terribly angry, mostly at myself for giving this President the benefit of the doubt. That doesn’t make my views about his opponents change; it just says that I was likely wrong in my choice.

There is still time, but am I optimistic about how things will go with this man in office? Sadly, I am not.


Karen Brook Westhaver said...

Well said, Walt. There was lots of similar turbulent grumbling over here through/after the speech/questions. A very contrived performance which came off as glib gone wrong and empty. A transparent attempt to "pacify the people" whom are being very underestimated in ability to perceive crap when it's presented even with articulate language --- still crap. Very worrisome indeed.

TOTWTYTR said...

He didn't call on the NYT, WaPo, or WSJ for one of two reasons. Either he was punishing them for daring to ask tough questions in the past, or he was trying to give the appearance of being fair and balanced.

What no one seems to want to say is that he's very uncomfortable in a give and take situation where he can't give scripted and canned replies.

Walt, don't feel bad about voting for Obama. A lot of people thought he couldn't actually mean what he said during the campaign. I voted for McCain because I knew that Obama was in fact going to try to do exactly what he said he'd do.

It really does screw up the system when a politician tells the truth.