Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tribune exaggerating the "enthusiasm" Obama generates

The Chicago Tribune editorial board says Barack Obama should run for president in 2008, (hat tip to Rich Miller) because "after the divisive events of the last decade, the nation may be ready for a voice that celebrates our common values instead of exaggerating our differences." They may be right, but I take issue with their singling out Obama as singularly being able to bring "an approach that transcends party, ideology and geography" to the campaign.

A recent Gallop Poll shows that more "adults nationwide" would "like to see" John McCain (56%), Rudy Giuliani (55%), John Edwards (45%) and Hillary Clinton (44%) run for President than Obama (38%). So why is Obama being championed by the Trib as an "enthusiasm" generating "centrist" while Giuiliani is dismissed as "polarizing?"

I'm not saying that the Trib is wrong to promote Obama as a possible candidate. But their promotion of him as uniquely qualified to end the bitter partisanship of the last 10 years just don't hold up to scrutiny. In many ways, the Tribune (like other media outlets) is not promoting Obama's "transcending" appeal - they are helping to create and preserve it.

Would I be complaining if it was McCain or Giuliani benefiting from this sort of editorial fawning? Probably not. But at least I'd be able to help defend it up with some facts and figures, not just the journalistic puffery of the same outlets that are doing the editorializing.

Also posted at the Grand Old Partisan of Illinois

Poster's note: I didn’t want to do back-to-back Obama posts. Had I know that the Trib was going to release this editorial today, I would have held off on what I wrote yesterday for another time and finished one of the other essays I'm working on. (I don’t want to get a reputation for being “obsessed” with bringing down Obama here).

9 comments:

Robbie 3:57 PM  

gop - you long ago had a rep for wanting to take down obama!

but seriously, i think you are right in that the tribune is making news instead of reporting it. i think it is a weakness of all forms of media the last few years. i personally blame the 24 hour news networks for causing such a shift in media reporting.

i dont know if your gallop poll is very indicative of the actual climate. i dont see ho wthe poll is related to which candidates are polarizers and which are centristizers. (yes i know those arent real words)

with more than 2 years away the people that are going to top thise lists are the most popular. not the most qualified for the job, not the most likely to be voted for, or anything else. simply name recognition.

I think it is of note that Obama has the 3rd lowest 'resentment rate.' there are really high numbers of people that dont want to see a lot of these candidates whereas obama is one of the most unknown.

sidenote, does anyone else remember september 10th 2001 when rudy guliani was basically an unliked mayor of new york?

markg8 6:08 PM  

does anyone else remember september 10th 2001 when rudy guliani was basically an unliked mayor of new york?

I do! He was on the verge of dropping out of the race against Hillary for the Senate because he booted his wife out of the mayor's mansion and was caught cheating on his mistress or something. Then of course he got prostate cancer (probably ordered up by Jerry Falwell) and had to scotch the whole thing.

Republicans complain that Obama hasn't accomplished anything in the Senate. That sounds like code to me for, "We can't accuse him of voting to raise taxes 350 times."

Regardless I'll take his big brain and his big heart over any Republican. I suspect most Americans will. It'd be a
nice change from what we have now.

Bill Baar 8:26 PM  

I remember when Americans voted for Jimmy Carter's big heart. Obama reminds me a lot of Carter.

Benjamin Disraeli,  10:25 PM  

Barack Obama is a media generated candidate, not grass roots.
Imposed by the top down, not the bottom up. A media favorite with ridiculous and unanylitical let alone uncritical coverage.

Bill Baar 7:47 AM  

Carter was smart too... Nuclear Scientist they told us.

JB Powers 9:11 AM  

Why try to bring down Obama? Why not publish his record, and the voters will decide themselves.

Obama is the one of the most partisan Senators (#4 at last count), right behind Dick Durbin. Any attempt to potray him as a unifier is pure PR.

JBP

markg8 10:37 AM  

Why not publish his record, and the voters will decide themselves.

Wouldn't that be nice? It'd be great if the media actually published candidates' real records instead of beltway BS and campaign spin. Then we'd see that John McCain isn't a maverick at all. When he goes off the Republican reservation he mostly takes politically popular stances. He broke with the party on campaign finance reform, patients' bill of rights, CAFE standards and for awhile an end to torture. Except for adding more troops to Iraq which he's gone to the right of the self paralyzed Bush on he's just using common sense.

Sure comparing him to the rightwing nuts running the government makes him look better. But that's an awfully low bar to set. And sadly the lesson he seems to have learned from 2000 is to hire the sleaziest infighters he can.
He just hired Terry Nelson as his campaign manager.

Terry Nelson produced the infamous, "Call me Harold" bimbo attack ad against Harold Ford, Jr. in TN. He was
also involved in the 2002 New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal and Tom DeLay's money laundering scam in Texas.

Bill Baar 12:44 PM  

Why try to bring down Obama? Why not publish his record,,,,

He doesn't have much of a record and is preachy. Who cares if he goes to Warren's Church and says this is my house too.

It's not my house for sure, and I'm pretty indifferent to which Church Obama or Warren call home.

I want some action from him. He hired Sam Powers to work on Africa and foregin affairs.

Run for Prez is fine, but I want to see Obama speaking to issues. Not preaching on issues.

4Piggybanks2 3:38 PM  

Bill Baar - it's interesting that you went into "preachy" and "preaching". I got that same feeling when I read the Dec. 5, 2006, Chgo. Trib. pc. "Todd Stroger's promises". (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0612050239dec05,1,593067.story)

I think I am far past caring about words that elected officials want to see carved into a building with their names next to them. Or words that they want reporters to spread to their political flock. I just want them to cut-to-the-chase, tell the truth, and do the job.

Save the applause and sainthood for later - after the government is clean, money is saved, and the bad guys/gals are doing time. When people no longer go hungry, no longer are homeless, and finally get free excellent medical care - I'll think about putting up a "praise" wall. (Note: This doesn't eliminate a simple "thank you" for jobs well done.)

I guess that means that "mission statements", "visions", and "lighthouse districts" have also overstayed their welcome in my mind. I am also tired of clout, political feet kissing, and "dynasty" jobs passed from family member to family member.

------------------

On this day, Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor history reminds me of family members who either fought in WWII or were on the home front trying to keep things going before I was born. If there is any place of honor to put one's name it might be on a simple white marker in Arlington (or in local cemeteries) along with all of the others who did the best they could - in the moment.

Everyday, imperfect, "heroes", servicemen/servicewomen came home from WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Viet Nam, the Persian Gulf War,the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and other conflicts - and often never even whispered about their experiences. They did what they had to do.

I thank them every day.

(Apologies for awkward wording or incomplete thoughts.)

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