Senator Obama’s campaign rhetoric would have us believe that he is moderate and post-partisan – a new kind of politician for a new era. The media have refused to challenge this attractive image, giving Obama an unprecedented free pass. But the truth is easy enough to discover. Barack Obama spent his formative years in politics as a loyal cog in the Daley machine. He learned to play power politics in the manner that Chicago Democrats are known for. One might excuse him, since he did not invent that system and could not realistically have challenged it. But in doing so one would be conceding that Obama’s record is one of politics-as-usual, not “change”; and one of service as a Democratic Party yes-man, not an independent-thinking leader. His record and his rhetoric are entirely at odds. Which are we to believe?
Those who would believe in the sincerity of candidate Obama’s promises must face the fact that he has already broken his first campaign promise: he pledged to participate in public financing of his presidential campaign if his opponent did. Obama weaseled out of his pledge and his sycophants in the media made excuses for him.
The domestic media’s pro-Obama bias has become so flagrant that it is even drawing attention overseas. The OSCE, which is sending observers to monitor the U.S. elections next week, has issued a preliminary report that concludes favoritism in the major media gives Obama a “hidden advantage.” Meanwhile, Melanie Phillips of the UK’s Spectator exposed Obama’s longstanding close ties to communists, racists, and other extremists, as well as the refusal of the U.S. media to investigate the candidates’ background, in two recent articles.
One American journalist, ashamed of his profession, blames short-sighted, self-interested editors for the media bias:
In other words, you are facing career catastrophe – and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway – all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.While I believe there is probably truth both in this explanation and in the problem of “liberal media bias,” let me propose an alternative hypothesis just for fun: the media are scripting the story of Barack Obama according to the celebrity template – build him up and tear him down. They resist any attempt to examine the celebrity’s shortcomings at this stage of the story because they know that the first act must end in triumph. Obama must win the election and perhaps even move into the White House before negative information can be entertained. The media have invested too much in this narrative to risk endangering the dramatic impact with a premature scandal. But, should Obama become President, I predict that before the end of his first term someone in the media will break away from the pack and launch the scandal storyline. That’s just what the media do to celebrities.
And then the opportunity presents itself: an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career. With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived Fairness Doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe, be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.
And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country . . .
And that’s what usually happens to messiahs, as well. In fact, there are great similarities between the messiah storyline and the celebrity storyline – that’s the whole premise of Jesus Christ, Superstar.
I will leave you with this Tleilaxu epigram from Frank Herbert’s 1969 novel, Dune Messiah:
Here lies a toppled god –
His fall was not a small one.
We did but build his pedestal,
A narrow and a tall one.