It has swung an election.
First this story “McCain Getting Hammered on Late-Night TV” points out that from Sept 1 to Oct 24 the McCain ticket has been the butt of 475 jokes by David Letterman and Jay Leno alone, versus 69 jokes targeting the Obama ticket. Next there’s this story that attempts to rationalize the press bias against McCain/Palin and its ass-kissing of anything Obama/Biden. The writer, of course, denies the fact that 80% or more of the Media is voting for Obama has anything to do with the negative coverage.
I’ve always been fascinated by propaganda – the culture of lies used to achieve and maintain power – for a similar reason that otherwise law abiding citizens are fascinated by the escapades of outlaws. Sometimes the Truth simply isn’t as exciting as Falsehood. The Truth can often be dull while Lies are often quite interesting and fanciful – just as a fireman’s daring rescue of a child from a burning building may not be quite as titillating as the nefarious doings of a local mob figure.
The greatest propagandists of the twentieth century were Joseph Goebbels and William Randolph Hearst. Both men consciously took kernels of Truth, twisted them and debased them for personal and political gain. While the current propagandists are shadows of these infamous men, New York Times publish Arthur Sulzburger jr, and Rolling Stone and US publisher Jann Wenner continue the tradition of repeating lies until the become truth, to paraphrase another master of propaganda, Joseph Stalin.
I expect that after the election is over and the Press understands the groupthink it engaged in over the past year, ruining the careers of anyone who stood in the way of the Obama juggernaut it created (Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Sarah Palin to name just a few) it will have to come to terms with an inexperienced president with personal views that are extreme to all but a small segment of the American population.
It will also have to question whether it wishes to become the arm of the White House press secretary or whether it will resume its traditional role as the Fourth Estate. I expect it to choose the latter – in which case the height of the Obama phenomenon will no doubt go down as Inauguration Day 2009. From then on the balance that has been lacking for the past two years should eventually return.
That will be cold comfort for Hillary and Sarah. And a true American hero like John McCain deserved better treatment at the hands of a bunch of snotty under-paid j-school graduates.
UPDATE: Michael Malone writes…
The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I’ve found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.
But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I’ve begun—for the first time in my adult life—to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was “a writer,” because I couldn’t bring myself to admit to a stranger that I’m a journalist.
There are questions about Obama’s governing style, too. On the stump, he says he wants a more transparent government. His campaign has introduced a host of proposals to promote transparency.
Yet the campaign has sent threatening letters to radio and TV stations in an attempt to bully them out of running anti-Obama ads. It has asked that friends and former classmates not speak to reporters. And it has organized supporters to bombard media outlets hosting unfriendly viewpoints.
So is Obama an idealist or a traditional hardball pol? When he ran for the Illinois state Senate, his insistence on flawless petitions got all three of his opponents removed from the ballot. Yet, recent reports say 30 percent of the 1.3 million new-voter registrations gathered by the liberal organization ACORN - which are likely to favor Obama – were fraudulent. No word on whether he finds this troubling.
Perhaps showing my long-standing bias towards the Left, I’ve always expected an American demogogue to appear from the Right. I never anticipated that America would spawn it’s own Hugo Chavez on the Left.