Obama and the fawning press need to get a room - Mercedes-Benz Forum

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-09-2009, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
BenzWorld Elite
Jayhawk's Avatar
Date registered: Aug 2005
Vehicle: S500/W220/2000
Location: Lawrence, KS (USA)
Posts: 21,652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
(Thread Starter)
Obama and the fawning press need to get a room

When Barack Obama decided that questions from the German press about his trip agenda in that country were too pesky, he told the reporters, "So, stop it all of you!" He just wanted them to ask things he wanted to talk about. Well, what politico wouldn't want that?

OK, dad. We'll behave.

And according to a new Pew Research Center poll, we are behaving...like fans. On domestic press, it showed that "President Barack Obama has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush during their first months in the White House" with "roughly twice as much" Obama coverage about his "personal or leadership qualities" than was the case for either previous president.

Back in the US, NBC's Brian Williams' two-part "Living Large With the Top Dog" feature on Mr. Obama's life included a plug for Conan O'Brien's new show and mention of cable talkies where Mr. Obama only cited MSNBC personalities. Accident? I don't think so. There were a few probing moments in there, but they were overshadowed by the flash of hanging out in the back of the Auto One limo and having burgers. A little navel-gazing among journalism standards hall monitors about whether the thing had been too soft came and went.

Then, this Sunday in the NYTimes, there was full-on chick-flick swooning over Barack and Michelle Obama's heavily scented "date night" in NY City and its high bar standard effect on our relationship culture, with just a hint of controversy over the taxpayer costs to add some spice. I swear I've seen this movie, only Michael Douglas was the President. Or Harrison Ford. Or one of those cool and languid characters you'd want to like you. George Bush needed to be beer-bar likable to get elected. His successor has managed to get a lot of people to want to be liked by him.

And in Paris, Mr. Obama talked about how he'd love to take his wife for a romantic tour of the City of Lovers, but couldn't. Then he did. I'm guessing some regular-Joe freedom fries weren't on the menu.

This guy is good. Really good. And, frankly, so far, we're not.

You can't blame powerful people for wanting to play the press to peddle self-perpetuating mythology. But you can blame the press, already suffocating under a massive pile of blame, guilt, heavy debt and sinking fortunes, for being played. Some of the time, it seems we're even enthusiastically jumping into the pond without even being pushed. Is there an actual limit to the number of instances you can be the cover of Newsweek?

If I wanted to see highly manicured image management I'd just take some No-Doz and read Gavin Newsom's tweets. But the Obama-press dance is a more consensual seduction where, in the old-fashioned sense, we're the girl. (In California, there's no other option.)

I thought that the Maxfield Parrish, heroic days of the Kennedy Administration PR, where the press and the president were pretty much all in on the same screenplay and the same jokes, couldn't happen in our modern era, what with paparazzi and tabloids and talk shows, citizen sound-bite scavengers and voracious 24/7 news cycles. But now that the stumbling Bushes and smirking Clintons are out of the White House, time has compressed back on itself like the machine in the Denzel Washington movie, "Deja Vu." It's the early 1960s and Camelot all over again:

Very attractive wife, cute, precocious kids and the hopes and dreams of at least 63 percent of the population sitting on the athletic shoulders of a young, charismatic, mold-breaking leader, Blah, blah. (Oh, and a Chicago Mayor Richard Daley helped make it possible. We can play the Lincoln-Kennedy parallels game here.) Only there's a puppy now instead of a pony and it seems like Barack Obama may be less socially, self-destructively libertine than Mr. Kennedy. In fact, he's downright conservative on things like same-sex marriage. (It's smart to have a wholesome life -- though very clearly, in the sinuous world of the Obamas, not to the point of abstinence -- when you're pushing programs that get labeled as socialist.)

So we're in love, lust, or just a whole lot of like. Clearly we get something in exchange, whether it's a little reflected exuberance, a sense of history or just some very minor role in a fun movie. If you want to appear in a movie with John Travolta, you go willingly with him to the LA Scientology Center and are happy about it. "I'm clear, man. Hand me the cans."

I'm not sure Mr. Obama is necessarily getting away with anything here. In Cairo, when he spoke of the "principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings," more than a few writers pointed out that this meant unless you're the Egyptian government or two gay people wanting to get married. What the President was saying overseas, to mostly purplish commentators' delight over the symbolic significance of the event, Dick Cheney was actually meaning in his own "freedom means freedom for everyone" speech about same-sex weddings.

The style-over-substance hit followed him from continent to continent. "While the president is popular among Europeans," the Wall Street Journal wrote, "he returned from his second trip to Europe with little more progress on key issues" than he got on his first visit. That's the Journal. But the Washington Post, where the John Kennedy myth was nurtured like a golden statue, managed a cautionary op-ed column from Robert Samuelson warning that "our political system works best when a president faces checks on his power." He meant checks from the press.

Samuelson was one of the few in the media to give some room to the Pew Research Center poll.

So far, this is all about image and character and press "opportunities." But with what CNN financial reporter Elizabeth Cohen called this morning "gazillions of dollars" of our money at stake and crazy people with nukes bristling from around the edges of the world, we can't afford not to keep a closer eye on the substance thing.

Bronstein at Large : Love or lust, Obama and the fawning press need to get a room

Don't believe everything you think
Jayhawk is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 12:45 AM
BenzWorld Elite
TNTRower's Avatar
Date registered: Sep 2007
Vehicle: '98 E320 Wagon (non 4matic)
Location: Atlanta, GA & Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Posts: 6,663
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Send a message via AIM to TNTRower
Cue irrational attack from left about nit picking or other some such denigratory accusations in 3...2...1...


This is the PEW Poll that the article was referencing I think.

Who's John Galt.

"Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" - Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 2

If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel. --Benjamin Netayahu

Last edited by TNTRower; 06-10-2009 at 12:57 AM.
TNTRower is offline  
post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-10-2009, 01:25 PM
BenzWorld Elite
FeelTheLove's Avatar
Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 83 Astral Silver 280 SL
Location: Planet Houston
Posts: 28,829
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
How bad to have a popular president. Shame on us.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
FeelTheLove is offline  
Sponsored Links

  Mercedes-Benz Forum > General Mercedes-Benz Forums > Off-Topic

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mercedes-Benz Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


  • Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
    Thread Tools
    Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
    Email this Page Email this Page
    Display Modes
    Linear Mode Linear Mode

    Similar Threads
    Topic Author Forum Replies Last Post
    KURTZ: PRESS FALLS HARD FOR OBAMA; JOURNALISM ON HOLD... Jayhawk Off-Topic 3 11-17-2008 02:25 PM
    What's Going On in the Benzworld Press Room? offroadwarrior Benzworld Site issues forum 4 05-15-2006 09:33 AM
    Room for one more? Endo-E W210 E50 AMG, E55 AMG 6 04-10-2006 03:23 PM
    A chat room for OT Shabah Off-Topic 11 09-30-2005 11:19 PM
    room for improvement! PSA W126 S,SE,SEC,SEL,SD,SDL Class 2 12-06-2004 01:05 AM

    Posting Rules  
    You may post new threads
    You may post replies
    You may not post attachments
    You may not edit your posts

    BB code is On
    Smilies are On
    [IMG] code is On
    HTML code is Off
    Trackbacks are On
    Pingbacks are On
    Refbacks are On


    Title goes here

    video goes here
    description goes here. Read Full Story
    For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome