Jan. 10, 2013: President Barack Obama, flanked by outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, left, and current White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, gestures while speaking in the East Room of the White House.AP
Jan. 16, 2013: President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, walks from the White House to the Treasury Department in Washington.AP
Jan. 16, 2013: President Barack Obama, accompanied by White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, reacts to a reporter's question about the event he was leaving at the Treasury Department.AP
Ship of State Obama (conveniently SOS Obama) is sailing forward Monday on the next leg of its journey amidst battles over guns, immigration, debt and pretty much everything else. The big question is whether the media will continue to serve as crew for another four years.
That has been the policy for the first cruise. Capt. Obama, who seems to have learned the trade from Queeg, Bligh, and Hook, set sail pretending to chart a neutral course. The actual path was far different. Four years under Obama have been reminiscent of a pirate voyage and not the Caribbean kind with Johnny Depp playing a quasi-good guy.
No, it’s been all a plunder-the-rich, take-no-prisoners trip infuriating close to half the American population – just none of them in the news media. Obama didn’t have to press gang any of them to get on board. Journalists signed up to serve king and country, especially the king part. It didn’t matter whether it was taxes, Libya, Fast & Furious or gun control (er, “gun violence”), the media have followed Obama like he is their personal master and commander-in-chief.
Let’s talk a little mutiny and remind journalists they don’t have to jump when the captain says so, they can jump ship. Had they tried that, we might have heard more about some of these stories and many more.
• The Choom Gang: Even when we found Bill Clinton was one toke over the line, some in the media actually covered it. When the Post’s David Marianiss revealed that the president hadn’t just inhaled, but that he’d been a full-fledged Hollywood-teen-flick-style stoner, the media briefly noted it and moved on. Little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gets the VP nod and half the American media descend on the tundra. Obama runs for president and major news organizations believe his autobiographies like they were divine writ.
• The Other Phony Girlfriend: Long before Notre Dame’s Manti Te'o redefined the term incomplete pass, it was Obama’s dating life that was fictional. In one of the most entertaining revelations of the Marianiss book, we learned Obama’s autobiography “Dreams From My Father,” was heavy on “dreams.” “;Obama acknowledged that, while Genevieve was his New York girlfriend, the description in his memoir was a ‘compression’ of girlfriends,” quoted Politico. Ironically, after these revelations, Marianiss grew concerned the right was using his book to show “all the things in Obama's autobiography which are not true.” Horrors!
• The Transparent Lie: When Obama took office, he promised “transparency.” There’s even a memo to that effect on the White House website. Reality has been far different. Team Obama has fought the press, opposed document releases even after the fact, and helped keep newsies out of the oil disaster area in the Gulf after the BP spill. Had any Republican president treated the media that way, he’d have been skewered. With Obama, journalists mocked slightly and continued to support his every move. The liberal Politico sarcastically called the administration the “Most transparent White House ever,” for one of its endless anti-press efforts.
• Freedom of What? Under the Obama administration, freedom of religion has become hotly contested and often litigated. The idea about faith and “prohibiting the free exercise thereof ”; has gone out the stained-glass window. Catholic groups and businesses from the church to companies like Hobby Lobby are fighting against new healthcare mandates that force them to violate their faith. That controversy and what it likely means to 75 million Catholics got almost no coverage from secular journos bent on sweeping it under the pew. Reporters were too bashing Chick-fil-A.
• Gaffe Masters: Who can forget Republican VP Dan Quayle and “potato?” Or George Bush and “stategery?” GOP gaffes become enshrined in political discourse – like “47 percent.” Democratic gaffes get either ignored or soon dropped into the recycling bin (only green for Team Obama!). From VP Joe Biden’s “big f***ing deal”; to Obama’s “57 states,” Team Obama has made some classics. My favorite is when he tried to curry favor with Argentina and undercut our ally Britain. He wanted to call the Falkland Islands their Argentinean name, the Malvinas. Instead, he called the islands the Maldives, off by half a planet. Where’s Carmen Sandiego when you need her?
• That Pesky Economy: When George Bush ran for reelection, and the economy was good, the media criticized him for it and then blamed him. When Obama ran for reelection and the economy was bad, not so much. America has undergone four years of awful economic circumstances and the Democratic media apparatus blames Bush or the House GOP, which is somehow now the most powerful branch of government according to the media.
Every one of those stories, and hundreds more, should get significant coverage by our press. It’s time they either shape up or ship out.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.