“Could the Media Turn on Obama?”
Over on Powerline, Steven Hayward asks this question. After checking to make sure I had not ruptured something in the ensuing bout of laughter, I managed to limit myself to a few uncontrollable snorts & giggles as I read that line again, and tried to think seriously about Hayward’s proposition.
Hayward cites an article by Howard Fineman published on Monday, and likens it to a canary in a coalmine, portending a possible shift from wholesale advocacy to blaming Obama for failure. I find it unlikely Fineman serves as any sort of bellwether for the rest of the media. We may see a couple of other eyebrow-raisers in coverage by leftish pundits and reporters criticizing Obama and his campaign, but I think it will amount to little more than a rare exception.
The media today is much different than in 1980, during the campaign Hayward cites as an example of the media abandoning “their” candidate. Although still overwhelmingly sympathetic to liberals and Democrats, the media was still very patriotic. There was little of the “blame America first” attitude which dominates the scene today. There was also much more pride in the “craft” of journalism 30 years ago. Good work was measured as solid investigation and reporting, not political correctness and arguing the “right” side of an issue.
The greatest change must be regarded as the rise of activist, advocacy journalism. It’s not about investigating sources and stories, finding the facts, and reporting them, it’s about the “public good.” Journalists have gone from being newshounds to nannies, from adversaries to advocates. Making a point, and influencing opinion now substitute for finding and reporting the news. Progressives believe in the rule of experts, and journalists have appointed themselves experts on what we need to know, and what we don’t. So instead of hearing about alarming unemployment and terror attacks in Benghazi, we hear about the threat to government-subsidized birth control and the “war on women.” They no longer see their job as reporting the news, but to tell us what is news, and what we should think about it.
Nope, I will be very surprised indeed to see more than an occasional Indian leaving the media’s reservation. They don’t see their job as reporting about his campaign or the election, they see it as helping drag him across the finish line.