Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Slobbering Love Affair: Book Review

I have to admit the title accomplishes its goal: makes a book stand out from its competition, like a brightly designed cereal box on a grocery store shelf. (The full title is A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media".) To be totally honest I did not buy the book, figuring I already knew what it was going to say. A friend loaned me her copy and insisted I read it.

While I was right in that the book just confirmed what I had knew about the media's strong leftist bias I was appalled at how flagrantly and shamelessly the media campaigned for Obama. In many cases there were no attempts to even pretend reporting was unbiased. A former CBS reporter and ten-time Emmy winner, Goldberg shares comments his peers said to him when he pointed out some of their blatant favoritism. At one point one colleague who was guilty of such favoritism says, "It is what it is." (!)

Goldberg also stitches together a nice timeline of the election, showing how the media favored Obama over his Democrat primary rivals such as Hilary Clinton. He also explains how the media at first was friendly to John McCain during the Republican primaries because McCain was the most liberal of the Republican candidates but then turned negative when he became the hurdle for Obama's ascendancy to God-hood, I mean the Presidency.

He doesn't spare the Republicans of blame, pointing out their prolifigate spending during the Bush era (or error as I've seen on bumper stickers). Goldberg also has no kind words for Bush's role in the Republican debacle of the 2008 election.

Goldberg does a nice job detailing their sins but, like other conservative critics of media bias, struggles for an explanation why. They are filled with a mixture of rage and confusion while yearning to return to the good old days where the truth and objectivity meant something. As a result his prescription amounts to a taking a teaspoon of common sense. The problem is that a teaspoon of common sense is no match for the erosion and undermining of objectivity. Such common sense didn’t prevent the current situation.

I believe we're seeing the natural consequence of decades of relativism – the belief that there is no objective truth -- as applied to journalism. Thanks in part to the effects of postmodernism where any attempt to defend objectivity was dismissed by merely representing white European, outdated thinking, collective truth has replaced objective truth. By collective truth I mean if enough people believe something and their motive is to "help people" then no criticism is necessary or allowed. And when challenged one’s rebuttal consists of “It is what it is": a proclamation that there is no debate. It’s deuces wild. You can do, or say, what you want with impunity and without shame, as long as it’s for a “good (i.e., liberal) cause.”

If Republicans and conservatives want to combat the media’s bias they’re going to need to better understand the philosophical issues that underlie this bias. Meanwhile the love affair continues unabated as Obama aggressively expands the role of government into even more sectors of the economy.