Media tries to will the US into the age of Obamalot
As I noted in an update last evening would almost certainly be the case, the media today is pushing the story that the firm owned by McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, lobbied for Freddie and Fannie Mac — all while continuing to ignore exploring, at any length, Sen Barack Obama’s actual ties to those closely related to the current economic meltdown. Not only that, but the Davis-as-tied-to-crisis story is disputed by the McCain campaign — which alleges that the NYT has reported in bad faith, and that public records back up the campaign’s claims that Mr Davis cut ties to his firm in 2006, and that he never lobbied Freddie or Fannie Mac (and in fact, hasn’t been a registered lobbyist since 2005).
All of which, I suppose, is not surprising; after all, the media seems to think that the Sen from Illinois is running against everyone but Senator McCain, from the Gov. of Alaska to a campaign manager, and so their function has been to try to dirty them and hope that as the stories accrue, the public is left with a certain impression crafted by their reporting, while the facts that undercut this impression will ultimately only be “corrected” in the back pages of the paper, if at all.
The fact is, McCain hired Davis to run his campaign, not to write policy. And it was McCain who spoke up for the reforms that could have forestalled the current crisis while Obama remained silent and collected more money from the corrupt Freddie and Fannie Mac than all but Chris Dodd.
I’ve noted before that we are now fighting an all out ideological war for the survival of the democratic republic. In fact, I’ve been making this same argument for years now: when the press, under the cover of “objectivity,” is allowed to function as an advocacy arm for a particular ideology and its titular representatives, what follows is a necessary skewing of facts — and a carefully constructed attempt to frame “stories” with “lessons” that the public will interpret “correctly” (according to those attempting to teach the lessons from the perspective of their own personal advocacy).
This is not hyperbole: a free society relies on a free press to inform. That the mainstream press leans demonstrably left is not the problem in and of itself; the problem arises when that demonstrable bias is given cover as “objective,” and when those who believe they are basing their support for a candidate or platform on objective reporting are in effect doing no such thing, but are rather being coaxed, prodded, directed, and manipulated — in everything from what comes to count as newsworthy to, in cases like these, shoddy reporting (which may or may not be intentional), the effect of which is to leave those who rely on the media literally less informed than had the media reported nothing at all.
A free society cannot run this way. If information is power, those who control the information and its mainstream dissemination are in a position to act as the most important swing vote in any election. That the press has given up, at this late stage (and despite declines in readership and public trust), any serious attempt to report objectively suggests that we are now quite immersed in a battle for the very principles of a democratic republic. Progressives have decided that the ends justify the means — that lies in the service of greater truths (as defined by their own ideology) are both pragmatic and utilitarian measures to be adopted so that “we” can finally get things “right,” and accept government from a permanent political class, a new aristocracy, that will expand the federal government in ways that will protect us from ourselves, in the process, assuring that ever new generations will be reliable upon the good graces of the federal government for their survival.
The new media held promise for fighting back. But the left recognized this immediately and built a counter balance to the MSM fact-checkers — and, in a perverse expansion of their role as foils, these progressive “netroots” are now responsible for feeding stories to the mainstream press, a further assault on the Enlightenment mandate for the free exchange of ideas, and further proof that progressives are every bit the totalitarians and would be fascists that I have long suggested they must necessarily be, given the philosophical imperatives that underwrite their political philosophy.
But enough of the abstract. Over at the Pub, Dan has put together a link-rich exploration of the specifics — including the roles of Raines, Gorelick, Pritzker, and Johnson — which help bolster my more airy musings:
The media push to drive all of the responsibility for the sub-prime mess onto the shoulders of the Republicans seems for the moment to be working. Sen. Sherrod Brown was on NPR yesterday stating that the crisis was created by greedy Wall Street bankers and Republicans who deregulated the finance industry. His depiction was too much even for Terry Gross, who stated, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Spoken like a loyal Democrat.Ã¢â‚¬Â To which Brown answered, with a certain lack of vocal conviction, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Well, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s true.Ã¢â‚¬Â After claiming that the Bush administration had never tried to do anything about the situation.
Mind you, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give Republicans whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve voted against oversight for Fannie and Freddie a pass, nor do I give greedy Wall Street financiers a pass, or the home equity loan bastards who now feel theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re entitled to a bail-out. But tucked into the Congressional provisions we now find that there are bail-outs for student loans and car debt. While Dem-leaning policy wonks talk about the inherent unfairness of the Feds permitting certain firms to fail and buying others, they seem not to mind that the government has intervened to save some homeowners from foreclosure while letting those who have gone before them sink, or that some people may have paid off their student debt or automotive financing, while they contemplate making us hold the bag for this. Are any of them going to recuse themselves for having accepted discounted loans from CountryWide or any of the other mortgage lenders? […]
Read the whole thing, which goes into even greater detail.
For my part, I’d just like to again reiterate that, should the press be allowed to comport itself this way under the current mythology that it is dedicated to “objectivity,” then every election will be necessarily skewed — if not by Evan Thomas’ infamous 15 percentage points, than at least by a number significant enough that it could very well be the deciding factor in every major election.
At which point, we’re dealing with no more than simulacrums of free elections, and the idea that we live in a democratic republic is but a useful fiction we tell ourselves as we slide ever more toward western European socialism and away from the principles this country was founded upon.
What’s the solution? I don’t know. But my suggestion would be either a press that surrenders the pretense of objectivity all together, or else some brave upstart looking for market share to come in with a clean slate of dedicated reporters who are taught not to “frame” facts into narratives that deliver “lessons,” but are rather instructed to report basic facts, almost genealogically — and without even the trappings of narrative.
Even then, omission and sequencing can be used to affect interpretation; but at least such things are easily recognizable when the tropes of “storytelling” are entirely removed.