Obama dived into substance yesterday by issuing executive orders on ethics and the closing of Gitmo. These are low-hanging fruit, in that the president can act unilaterally, but important nonetheless.
A lot of people, and not just conservatives, think the media have rolled over for Obama. I've certainly been critical of the coverage at times. But what's past is prologue. If journalists don't start holding the 44th president accountable--in the same way the left wanted us to hold George W. Bush accountable--we will have defaulted on our mission. It will be bad for the country, and bad for Obama. He didn't run as a black candidate. He ran as a politician who happened to be black. And so our journalism must be color-blind as well.
I did a double-take yesterday, seeing the first photos of Obama in the Oval Office, in that familiar chair. There is something undeniably uplifting about that, given our history. But the question now is what he can produce from behind that desk.
In the Wall Street Journal, Juan Williams warns against a racial double standard:
"If his presidency is to represent the full power of the idea that black Americans are just like everyone else -- fully human and fully capable of intellect, courage and patriotism -- then Barack Obama has to be subject to the same rough and tumble of political criticism experienced by his predecessors. To treat the first black president as if he is a fragile flower is certain to hobble him. It is also to waste a tremendous opportunity for improving race relations by doing away with stereotypes and seeing the potential in all Americans.
"Yet there is fear, especially among black people, that criticism of him or any of his failures might be twisted into evidence that people of color cannot effectively lead. That amounts to wasting time and energy reacting to hateful stereotypes. It also leads to treating all criticism of Mr. Obama, whether legitimate, wrong-headed or even mean-spirited, as racist.["]For those who missed it, Juan Williams' column that Kurtz is quoting in today's Washington Post is what upset someone's Denmark readers (see yesterday's snapshot). But read Kurtz' column and enjoy it knowing that the grown ups are returning home and they're not real damn pleased with the love-orgy the overgrown children are staging.
Back to McClatchy where Leila Fadel offers another in a long line of Judith Miller-esque reports today. I'm not interested in Leila and all I care about McClatchy is why their HIDEOUS coverage hasn't been called out? Everyone (in Real Media) knows that the end of McClatchy as a semi-honest voice on Iraq *came* when they partnered with the 'NGO' so good at distorting facts and reality for western audiences.
Did they really think they'd get away with that? Did they really think no one would notice their new 'institute' partner? That cozy relationships has led to many a clampdown in the past. The Institute for War & Peace Reporting reputation is stellar -- if you're addicted to the new told lies. (I believe Edward S. Herman once offered the best critique I've ever heard of IWP.)
Leila's back to gushing -- and gushing over Ray this time, the general, and what he says about redeployment and blah blah blah. She somehow never heard of the big breakfast meet up yesterday which really does apply to redeployments. But that's bad reporting for you: One-sided and uninformed. Others may try to avoid becoming the New Face of Bad Journalism, Leila has no hesitations. She sort of stumbles along her way as Little Richard sings "The Girl Can't Help It" in the background.
George McGovern offers "Calling a Time Out" and he doesn't mean Leila. In the Washington Post, he writes a column which includes:
To send our troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan would be a near-perfect example of going from the frying pan into the fire. There is reason to believe some of our top military commanders privately share this view. And so does a broad and growing swath of your party and your supporters.
True, the United States is the world's greatest power -- but so was the British Empire a century ago when it tried to pacify the warlords and tribes of Afghanistan, only to be forced out after excruciating losses. For that matter, the Soviet Union was also a superpower when it poured some 100,000 troops into Afghanistan in 1979. They limped home, broken and defeated, a decade later, having helped pave the way for the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Golly George, you stabbed Hillary in the back (twice) and you have to pen columns to get Barack's attention? How very, very sad for you.
And for those who missed the two-time stab in the back, the public endorsement of Barack was the second stab. The first stab was his ridiculous, 'I'm supporting Hillary but if I had to make the decision today, I don't know who I'd choose.' George McGovern, loser in 1972, loser in 2009. (Equally true: George McGovern, sexist in 1972, sexist in 2009.)
Meanwhile BBC reports that despite such 'state of the art' accessories as "a missile launcher," Saddam Hussein's yacht is being treated like a Ford Fiesta as no one seems overly impressed and refuses to pony up the thirty million bucks: "Baghdad officials have blamed the global economic slump for their failure to find a buyer."
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