Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Media: “In the Tank?”

Any one with the least awareness of the particulars of the campaign for president must surely be aware by now that the media is totally in the tank for Obama. If this has not been obvious from the beginning, one must question your powers of observation. Over the years I have observed various outlets paint candidates with a mix of unsavory accusations on both sides of the aisle. To refresh your memory, much was made of Dukakis in the tank wearing the standard helmet which was by design extremely large and made him look ridiculous; endless criticism for Dan Quale’s supposed failure to spell potato; the famous “Willy Horton” issue; John Kerry’s highly questionable service record as challenged by the swift boat veterans; CBS news fabricated story about George Bush and his Air National Guard service; and similar coverage of one or the other or both in every campaign since and before.

In most of these cases, a snippet of truth was amplified to cast aspersions on a particular person. This activity has been part of American politics from the “git-go.” First amendment freedom of speech and other constitutional issues prohibit any reining in of these allegations. All of this, of course, explains the army of investigators dispatched to Alaska to “dig up the dirt” on Sarah Palin.

What is unusual here is the total devotion of the media in this election cycle to Barak Obama. They are caught up in the Messianic zeal which that campaign encourages. To not repeat the story of Barack ascendant is near blasphemy. Some media outlets are obviously worse than others and consequently acquire a logical reputation as the most flagrant perpetrators. Fox news: not so much; CNN and MSNBC have been absolutely dedicated to support Obama.

This morning I found a repeat of a CNN investigative report which I had overlooked for the simple reason I don’t watch CNN. Anderson Cooper was challenged to dig a little deeper into the Obama/Ayers relationship. What I saw was absolutely amazing. Although somewhat bumbling and not quite as straightforward as I would have preferred, the report was close to accurate and in a word; damning! Try this link and see if you agree.

Now that you’ve seen it can you believe that CNN actually aired this? Despite the campaign representative’s best attempts to play down and refute the results of the investigation, they firmly establish the connection. This is not a McCain ad; it is a report from a significant part of the mainstream media. The message is clear. Obama has had a firm relationship dating well into the past with Bill Ayers and they are definitely not just ships which have “passed in the night.”

Apparently CNN has figured out that their continued existence as a news source depends on a measure of fairness in presentation. I applaud their epiphany and look forward to any additional revelations which they might bring forth. I have already covered the Obama/Ayers connection in previous posts and that is not the subject matter here. The thrust of this post is the affect which the media has on the citizenry.

An anecdote about my late mother is the best example of ingrained media bias. Bless her heart; she started to go blind in her seventies. Being close, I watched, with horror, as she gradually lost her sight. To fully understand her you must realize she was a former high school teacher with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Every summer for over thirty years she acquired at least six credit hours in continuing education which added to her educational accomplishments and put her well in excess of the advanced degrees she never sought. She wanted “to know.” Our home was full of books and periodicals which were for use and not for show.

As the disease in her eyes progressed we painfully observed first the increased type size necessary for understanding and then eventually her reliance on television, radio (very little), and conversation. The major news sources had, over the previous years, established themselves as reliable, familiar and trusted. Lacking contradiction from other printed sources, she was gradually brainwashed by the media. Once a rugged individualist, a single mother who worked her entire life (retired at 73!) and made her way in the pure American style, she was gradually inculcated with the liberal line which was propagated by the only media source available.

Early in our marriage, we found a house in Colorado Springs with a live-in apartment so she could enjoy assisted living. We shared the den where the TV was located and she became a huge football fan. Her interest in the game was not driven by the action on the field but rather the voice of John Madden. She identified his characteristic masculinity as only a sightless person could. In a word; she loved him. While we found her affection for John amusing, we easily understood.

During that period of ten years, I increasingly attempted to keep her up to date on the real world and not what the media mavens projected. Fighting three (then) networks is no easy job as they increased their influence day by day. Happily, her mental capacity was not impaired so she did maintain some semblance of reality and responded to reasoned argument and logic.

It was a lesson which I am apt to never forget. Her blindness was physical; unlike that which we see on the part of much of the electorate. Her narrow view was forced by her disability and certainly not on the laziness which seems to inhabit so many. Any time I am tempted to accept that which is being spoon fed by the celebrity reporters I keep in mind the struggle of my mom to maintain her equilibrium. Annie: rest in peace.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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