| A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media |
By Bernard Goldberg
By Bernard Goldberg
After Barack Obama won the election he realized that the economy was worse than he thought…so he had to lay off seventeen journalists. (Rim shot…thanks, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.)
The reason that even liberals get that joke is because, like most humor that works, it has an air of believability about it.
How much of an air? Well, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asked registered voters a simple question: “Who do most reporters want to see win?”
Seventy percent answered “Barack Obama.” Seventy percent! (90% of Republicans said the media was in the tank for Obama and so did a remarkable 62% of Democrats and Independents!) Just 9% said they thought the media favored McCain (and we can only hope they don’t let those people have sharp objects). The rest said “neither” or “don’t know.”
But here’s the real bad news: The mainstream media doesn’t care about those poll numbers. They’re riding high at the moment. They refuse to see the damage they are doing to themselves and to the nation.
Why the Corruption of the Media Matters
Back in 1972 I was a young producer for CBS News covering George McGovern’s presidential campaign. Pat Caddell, now a popular political analyst, was a young man just out of Harvard who was doing polling for the candidate. McGovern lost the election, of course, (he carried just one state, Massachusetts) and Nixon won a second term.
I ran into Caddell at a political conference in Florida nine days after the 2008 election and asked for his thoughts about the mainstream media. They were more biased than ever, he said, before launching into a bit of history to put the current mess into perspective.
“There is one institution in America which has no checks and balances,” he told me. “And that is the press. And there was a reason for that. It wasn’t that the Founding Fathers loved the press. It was because the press was supposed to protect the country. That’s why Jefferson said, ‘I would much rather have newspapers without a government than a government without newspapers.’ But when [the media] leaves the ramparts and becomes a partisan outrider for one party or the other or one candidate or the other— essentially [deciding] who should be president and who should not be president, what truth people should know and what truth they should not know, then what they become, what they constitute, is a threat to democracy.”
“Why,” he asked me, “should the American people support the First Amendment if the press isn’t going to do its job for them.”
And that’s when this whole “media bias” thing starts to get really scary.
Caddell worries that someday a demagogue is going to come along, somebody who makes Huey Long look like a shut-in. Somebody, Caddell told me, “who gets up at the start of his campaign and says, ‘I want you to see the press. They are the enemy of the American people. They will do everything they can to stop me because they want to stop you.’ And the American people will believe it. What if this is the most dangerous man that ever came along? Nobody will care what the press says.”
And that, my friends, is why the corruption of the media matters. The press has constitutional protections for one main reason: to keep watch over a powerful government. The fundamental job of journalists is to look out for us - the American people! If nobody cares what the press says, journalists will be watchdogs in name only. They may bark from time to time, but nobody will listen. And their weakness will make it easy for a corrupt government to get away with murder. That is the danger we all face when the mainstream media goes on their “noble mission” to make history.
The Tipping Point
The grim reaper is knocking on the mainstream media’s door. Many newspapers are on the brink of financial collapse and network newscasts don’t have nearly the ratings of years gone by. But still, they remain gloriously oblivious. They have reached a tipping point but refuse to believe it. The corrosion that is eating away at their credibility has been happening slowly. It’s like acid rain; one day you look around and all the trees are dead. Nobody pays attention until it’s too late.
And when they become so irrelevant that no one listens to them anymore, they undoubtedly will lash out at their critics for poisoning the well. They will remain arrogant and clueless and blame the media bashers for damaging their standing with the public. But their demise won’t come from the outside. It will be an inside job, the result of one too many self-inflicted wounds.
When that day comes it will be very bad indeed for the mainstream media. But it will be an even worse day for America. Let’s just pray that their demise doesn’t also lead to ours.
Bernard Goldberg is a New York Times best-selling author. His titles include Bias, Arrogance, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America: (And Al Franken is #37), and Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right. His latest best-seller A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media is on sale now. To learn more, go to www.bernardgoldberg.com/