Thursday, October 09, 2008

Rabinowitz on Obama and the Media

Although I am a now a bonafide Obama supporter, I remain somewhat troubled by the treatment Obama receives in many journalistic circles. I think this has less to do with ideology than with narrative appeal. Obama is a fascinating subject: supremely charismatic, fresh, multiracial. His running for president is almost something out of a movie. My guess is magazine covers with his face sell much better than those featuring an old grumpy-gus like McCain. Whatever the cause, however, I do feel that many journalists and news outlets have made it clear that they have a horse in the race: essentially, they have become to Obama a classier version of what Fox News was to Bush.

In this light, I enjoyed reading Ms. Rabinowitz's editorial in the Wall Street Journal, a publication which is not exactly known for a politically neutral agenda. The key point:

The single constant in the eternal election remains the media, whose activist role no one will seriously dispute. To point out the prevailing (with honorable exceptions) double standard of reporting so favorable to Mr. Obama by now feels superfluous -- much like talking about the weather. The same holds true for all those reports pointing to Mr. Obama's heroic status outside the United States -- not to mention the cascade of press analyses warning that if he fails to win election, the cause will surely be racism.

I think the editorial is worth reading, although it is at times somewhat meandering and unfair. Rabbinowitz seems convinced that "liberals" spend all their time chatting with Europeans about the moral failings of the United States, while "conservatives" unfailingly love their country. However, a self-styled right-winger who can maintain a lucid thought for more than two paragraphs is a rarity, and so we should judge the article by the standards of its peers.

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