Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Help me Barack Obama, you're my only hope!

In the words of Al Gore - the debate is over. The debate, that is, as to whether the news media has a liberal bias. If the past thirty years hasn't convinced everyone, or the election season of 2006 wasn't enough to seal the deal, then the coverage of this year's presidential race has established as empircal fact the cogency of the news media's bias towards, and in some cases outright advocacy for, Barack Obama.

But it seems to me that 'bias' is no longer a sufficient descriptor. As the McCain campaign somehow continues to hold even in the polls, in spite of running against perhaps, the most charismatic and inspiring candidate of all time, their appears to be a growing desperation on the part of many commentators and members of the news media. Specifically, they seem to have, for the first time, allowed the possibility of defeat to enter their minds. And they are scared. Consequently they are already laying the groundwork for what will surely be (in the case of an Obama defeat) a massive backlash against the America they believe is ignorant, racist, and corrupt. A recent article published in Newsweek by Slate magazine editor Jacob Weisberg articulates this sentiment:

"Many have discoursed on what an Obama victory could mean for America. We would finally be able to see our legacy of slavery, segregation, and racism in the rearview mirror. Our kids would grow up thinking of prejudice as a nonfactor in their lives. The rest of the world would embrace a less fearful and more open post-post-9/11 America. But does it not follow that an Obama defeat would signify the opposite? If Obama loses, our children will grow up thinking of equal opportunity as a myth. His defeat would say that when handed a perfect opportunity to put the worst part of our history behind us, we chose not to. In this event, the world's judgment will be severe and inescapable: The United States had its day but, in the end, couldn't put its own self-interest ahead of its crazy irrationality over race."

Are we racists if we don't vote for Obama? Will an Obama defeat mark then end of America? This kind of shrill posturing is the conseqeunce of several problematic trends and fallacious thinking.

The first is that Senator Obama (through no fault of his own) has been raised to such heights of sainthood by his followers that anything less than his ascendence to the American throne will be seen as nothing short of abandoning our only hope for a future.

Second, in order to compel the American people for the need for change, our political parties must paint our current state of affairs as bad as it has ever been. As Weisburg suggests, a vote for McCain will essentially send America into another dark age. I believe this kind of politicking is harmful to our country.

Third, we ignore the fact that African-Americans like Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell and Condaleezza Rice have served and are serving in the highest levels of government with distinction. To therefore suggest that how we vote in November will by itself either put an end to racism in America, or confirm that we are a savagely racist and hate-filled nation, is both irresponsible and stupid.

Is it really so outrageous to suggest that people who vote for McCain have principled reasons for doing so? I for one will not be voting for Barack Obama. Like many Americans, I can't help but like the guy. He's smart, charismatic and tough. I agree with some of his rhetoric, but like many Americans, I profoundly disagree with his policies and his vision for our country. Having said this, if he wins, it won't be the end of America because I don't believe my fate or future happiness depends on who happens to be living in the White House.

But as I watch the news media and others grow increasingly nervous about the current Sarah Palin phenomenon, checking their objectivity to avoid the horror that a McCain presidency would bring, I find myself almost hoping for an Obama victory. Who wants to see our country dragged through the mud should he lose? I cringe at the thought of the media trying to "make sense of it all." Don't you?


Jason Campbell said...

True, so true, on so many levels.

As with all other media in our culture, the intensity has risen ever-higher so as to paint this campaign into its grotesque form we see it today.

(The cynical relaxed side of me says that America would go into even more of an uproar if Paris Hilton or Brittney Spears turned into hard-line Calvinists and went on the road preaching abstinence and temperance.)

Jake, I challenge you to post another blog post that is in fact evidence of media bias. I can see it everywhere, but apparently, others do not. They see our media giants as shrewd but fair objective reports, undistorted by ideology and merely reporting "the facts." Give us the empirical evidence you assert! (I want to send a few people I know a link to the article...)

Anonymous said...

The words across Obama on that Time cover should be changed to "The Messiah" because that's how the press presents him in many cases.

I won't vote for the guy because his attitude (in what will quite possible be overly simplified terms) is that governement is the solution to all our problems. It is his god and his wants to be its favorite begotten son. This has nothing to do with his race. This has to do with my own attitude that goverment is more often than not the cause of our problems.

I do have a problem voting for a ticket with no executive experience. This was one of my main problems with both McCaine and Obama prior to the conventions. If you look back, our best presidents have been governors of states. A state government is a micorcosm of our federal government. Our president is expected to execute laws, not pass them. I'm pretty sure that Kennedy was our last president from the senate. Nearly half a century ago. The only hope I had for executive experience for either ticket was going to be who they chose for their vice-presient. So now my choices are another senator or a sitting governor. Guess who I like of those two? I want an executor, not an orator. Someone who makes decisions, not speeches.

Something that a lot of people seem to have overlooked in McCaine's selection of Palin as his running mate is what it showed about how McCaine thinks while trying to achieve victory. He took what a lot of people see as Obama's strengths (Washington outsider, youth, minority status, etc.) and countered each one of them. Her current office and the time she has spent there actually turned some of Obama's percieved strengths into weaknesses. The main job of the president is to be the commander in chief of the armed services of the United States of America. I want a guy in that position who shows some level of acumen in conflict strategies. Sun Tzu is dead and was not born in the U.S., so I have to take what I can get.

The one thing that really bothers me about Obama losing would be that some level of responsiblity for his loss will be laid on his race. Should he lose and that loss be blamed on race, it will allow his leftist ideologies and their failure to resonate with voters to escape blame. We will be told to overlook the fact that (assuming for a moment McCaine wins) for the last twelve years Americans have said "No" to the democrat party. For their party to say "it was racism" frees them from having to analyze their politics why those politics are being rejected. And are we all ready to take another ride on the "Presidential Election Was Stolen By Cheaters" train? Jay Leno is still making hanging chad jokes. And get ready for Michael Moore All You Can Eat Buffet of leftist whining.

Now assume for a moment that McCaine loses. How much credit will be given to Obama's race? Will we be told that Obama won because he was black? Would a statement like that, however unlikely, be racist? The quoted statement in your post, Jake, makes the argument that we should choose Obama because he's black. It is saying that we should base at least a portion of our decision on the color of Obama's skin. What kind of thinking says that it's racism if you don't vote for him based on his skin color, but it's not racism if you do vote for him based on his skin color? For our decision to be totally free of racism, shouldn't we base it on his ideology (which I don't agree with) and his achievements (which are nil)?

I actually was hoping that McCaine would choose Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, as his running mate. The more I hear this guy talk, the more I like him. The main reason I wasn't rooting for Palin is, to be honest, I had never really heard of her before the convention.

Now for your request, Jason, I offer two instances where the press showed their bias. Right after the democratic convention, an NBC reporter whose name I can't remember was reporting on how McCaine and Obama were nearly neck and neck in recent polls. The reporter stated that this was a shock because at this point Obama should have been carrying a double digit lead. I'm not sure how they came up with the idea that there should be a double digit lead. Was it based on the past? I doubt it. Was it based on some mathematical equation where you multiply the media's love for Obama by the number of books he's written?

The second instance I can remember is right after McCaine announced Palin as his running mate, Katie Couric was interviewing a Republican senator and getting his views. He stated that Palin had more executive experience than Obama. This is true. Obama has had not held a governmental executive position ever. Good or bad, this is a fact. Katie Couric immediately interrupted the senator and said that, "Obama's campaing surely doesn't agree with that. They would argue that he has much more experience than Governor Palin." The lead anchor for CBS news arguing against known facts in support of one cadidate. I would call this biased.


Jake Shore said...

Jason, I have been meaning to put together a blog, or series of blogs on the topic of media bias. It requires a fair amount of work, so we'll see.

And we know that if McCain wins, there will be endless accusations of a stolen election, rigged voting machines and the like. How come elections are bogus only if Republicans win? Why no call for recounts and investigations in 2006 when the Democrats won big?

To Ted's point; Weisburg cites statistics that show that a small percentage of people will vote against Obama because of his race. What he fails to mention is that as many or more people will vote for him because he is black. More than 90% of African-Americans support Obama. And just as many white people support Obama as did John Kerry in 2004. I don't think race is a sound basis for voting for a candidate anymore than voting against him/her would be, however, it shows that many Americans are eager to move past the issue of race.

And I especially agree with Ted that Governors make far better presidents. I also agree that think Bobby Jindal would be an awesome president.

Anonymous said...

The way to keep Democrats from howling at the end of an election reminds me of that line from Star Wars where C-3PO tells R2D2 the new strategy of, "let the Wookie win."