Monday, May 11, 2009

Obama and the press

'Obama's high level of public support is largely a product of his positive image the media have crafted.'

I was happily reading through this relatively standard analysis of DijonGate, something you may well not have heard about. To nutshell, DijonGate was a tiny, teeny little bit of media manipulation which caught the keen eye of the conservative/libertarian blogosphere. The President and Vice President of the United States went for lunch at a burger place, Rays Hell-Burger, in Arlington, Virginia. Thats very close to DC. Its meant to have really mean burgers. They aren't cheap by US standards at $6.95, though. Anyhoo, when President Obama ordered his, he asked for Dijon or some such mustard.

BFD right? Strangely, his request for Dijon mustard never made it on air. MSNBC, which happened to have cameras on hand at the restaurant BEFORE the presidential visit, were in the frame for eliding it out. Hmmm, thought all the people who were in the restaurant, he definitely said it. Why did MSNBC not want other Americans to hear their president asking for Dijon mustard? As usual, the cover-up caused much more stink than the comment itself.

But the reason for my post is to contest the assertion I direct quoted above. I do not believe that hundreds of millions of Americans love Obama because they read that they ought to in the LA Times, or were asked to on MSNBC. Some public figures are just beloved. I may not like them, I may not agree with their policies, but I will accept that millions of people disagree with me, for reasons I may never understand. And to delude yourself that millions and millions of people are the simple dupes of the big media organsitions is to start down a stone-cold dead-end.

As far as opposing the Obama policies, both tradition and common sense dictate that the man and his electorate are treated with respect while the policies are roasted with appropriate vigor. Being a loyal opposition can require great reserves of patience and a very thick skin. But in societies that don't want to use 7.62 rounds to solve their political differences, it is absolutely essential to deploy them.

The media may well love Obama, but that doesn't mean he is their creation.

No comments: