Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bush vs Obama in the Media

By Rachel Ring

Although I’m still concerned about the outcome of the election and would’ve preferred anyone over Obama (by anyone I mean, Hillary, Kerry, even Ted Kennedy), I refuse to treat him or even think of him in the same disrespectful, disparaging light as the liberal media and even fellow Republicans painted our current president, George W. Bush.

His treatment from the media was absolutely unpatriotic, deplorable, and downright scary. Obama should be weary of the media building him up to take him down, as the media has done to Bush post 9/11, our hero who led us out of the dark confusing days into a strong global war on terror that has produced results. Even the war in Iraq, since the surge, has been going well, but you would never hear that from the media. It’s certainly no longer reported that Fallujah has been given back to the Iraqis for control and that US marines have withdrawn their posts there, or that suicide bombings have gone down dramatically. Of course that wouldn’t be reported, because that would have been positive news about Iraq and consequently, about Bush’s competence and decision making.

Furthermore, I’m intrigued as to how Michael Moore is going to create another piece of misinformed propaganda about Bush. He intends to do just that on the economic crisis, yet he must be conveniently blocking out some very important years in history. 1966, 1977, and 1995 are three glaring years that again, Americans won’t hear about because it would make Bush seem less like an incompetent president.

1966 started the Lyndon Johnson “Great Society” program, which increased entitlement programs (read: welfare, read: higher taxes) nationwide. 1977 was the year Jimmy Carter plummeted the country into a recession due to his bad foreign policy agenda, which lead to the gas crisis. 1995, under the beloved Clinton administration (again, I’m baffled as to why he is so revered considering he was impeached), showed us a Democratic president signing into law the deregulation of banks. (And who could forget that Clinton had Osama bin Laden in his sights and let him go?!) Most recently, in the past two years, the public has seen a Democratic Congress sit by as the sub prime mortgage crisis raged out of control. Their motivation behind that: move slow, pin the crisis squarely on Bush, and guarantee a Democratic President-elect.

Besides all of those essential facts, I still refuse to revert to the kindergarten like behavior of the Democrats and “rogue” Republicans have done the past 6 years. Not only was their behavior distasteful, it was downright embarrassing internationally. What must enemies think of a country who can’t stand behind their president, with at least a bit of basic respect? It was unpatriotic, not in the sense that a person in America can’t disagree with the government, but there are ways to disagree with a President and compromise than instead, tear him apart personally to demonize him to gain public support and get their way. That’s the exact opposite route I hope Republicans take in dealing with Obama, to if nothing else, demonstrate that there is a fundamental difference in the way Republicans view authority than Democrats have recently, and that difference needs to be noticed so that damage control can be done in the way Bush was treated (an apology would be nice too).


moonburnt14523 said...

I don't know why it still shocks me that people don't know the definition of 'patriotic' (hint: it has nothing to do with the president). I don't know why it's still so hard for me to believe that there are really people out there who can't fathom any other reason for why Bush was 'treated' the way he was in the media other than to blame some evil, irrational liberal bias. I know I can't change the views of anyone who thinks this, because I can't make anyone think critically; or use their 'sociological imagination,' in the words of C. Wright Mills, to briefly step outside of their own world views, I can't even force him/her to apply some fundamental logic when analyzing information.

Oh, but, what the hell, I can at least post this:

pa⋅tri⋅ot⋅ic   [pey-tree-ot-ik or, especially Brit., pa-] Show IPA Pronunciation
1. of, like, suitable for, or characteristic of a patriot...

pa⋅tri⋅ot   [pey-tree-uht, -ot or, especially Brit., pa-tree-uht] Show IPA Pronunciation
1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, esp. of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.
3. (initial capital letter) Military. a U.S. Army antiaircraft missile with a range of 37 mi. (60 km) and a 200-lb. (90 kg) warhead, launched from a tracked vehicle with radar and computer guidance and fire control.

Maybe that was kindergarten-like of me, but, please don't extrapolate that to all Democrats. I'm not even a Democrat, just an irascible tofu-eating feminazi. But, seriously, enough already with the broad categorizations of 'liberals' and 'democrats'! Even the most irrational among us can agree that such generalizations destroy one's credibility. You can be a little more thoughtful than that.

DSKohn said...

I think that the point of the post was to say that responsible journalists are supposed to show at least a modicum of respect to the President, regardless of ideology or political party.

I also think it's pretty obvious that the media has behaved completely irresponsibly during the election and in general. There were several newspapers, including the Washington Post that actually printed apologies for their bias toward Obama.

As for papers such as the New York Times, their decline and fall from the greatest newspaper in the world into a trash talking tabloid is part of the sad story of American media. The Times was always biased liberal, but they gave the whole story of what was happening and then their opinion. That is advocacy journalism and entirely respectable. All that can be found in the Times now is mindless liberal ranting.

Andrew Mochulsky said...

I'm not much of a rabble-rouser, but I do love a good chunk of political discourse. On to the article!

Regarding Bush's treatment in the media, it has been increasingly negative, but one must wonder if this is correlational to the ever-decreasing approval ratings he has seen since the initial post-war bump. Considering the public relations hits the Bush Administration has taken in that time (Abu Ghraib, rising civilian and military death tolls, lack of an easily measurable progress, absence of a WMD program, waning international support), it's not surprising, given that the American mainstream media is, beyond its purported role as "news outlet," is a product. If more and more Americans are dissatisfied with a given political figure, it would make [insert ham-fisted cents = sense joke here] to run stories that jibe with that viewpoint.

However, we mustn't forget that Bush was, in fact, a media darling in the first phases of combat operations in Iraq. It had the airs of media frenzy as we saw in Operation: Desert Storm, with a news cycle that reported troop advancement towards Baghdad, generally without the boneheaded precision of Geraldo Rivera. He was, for basically the entire stretch of time between September 11th and the declaration of "Mission Accomplished," untouchable apart from a few on the periphery of the mainstream (Michael Moore, et al).

[Note, I mentioned Michael Moore while overlooking your later aside regarding his work. Great minds think alike?]

Regarding your history of welfare and economic crises in the United States, some clarifications. One, the top marginal tax rates after Johnson's Great Society only increased twice: once under Johnson, once under Nixon. Otherwise, they held steady until Reagan (excluding the fact that the tax rates on earned income were cut in '71 and again in '72, both by Nixon). Two, the stagflation felt under Carter cannot be attributed to succinctly to foreign policy. Three, in regards to your earlier point about Johnson expanding the welfare state, Clinton killed it, which even Reagan was unable to do.

As for standing behind a president, the country certainly did (for the most part) immediately following September 11th. However, loyalty does not a patriot make. This country was founded by a series of rabble-rousers and tax-evaders that fought literally to the death for the right to be back-biting contentious slap-happy hens chomping at the bit to disagree. If nothing else, our history shows that discontent is an expression of American contentment: you can't spell "disquietude" without "quiet."

The presence of criticism is not inherently bad, or even an indictment of the American system as a whole. The joy of free expression is precisely that. I am equally within my rights to complain about the president, the Congress, my neighbor, squirrels, and ethnic minorities. That's even more American than apple pie, when you consider just how many people are now diabetic or have wheat allergies--but we can still complain without needing to take insulin.

Life Blog said...

I do not understand what is noble about the contradictory position of publicly humbling yourself and doing the right thing, the exact thing that the Democrats haven't done for the past 6 years.
"Hey, look at me! I'm doing the right thing and 'respecting' you, but, tsk tsk, you've done it wrong so long. You should really take a hint from me. I get this whole bipartisan thing. I think you are wrong and have been wrong for the past 6 years, but I will stand behind you because I'm a patriot."

Honestly, I don't think that many Republicans think this way. Or at least the intelligent, compassionate ones I know. And I hope my experience is right; that there will be more than a "kindergarden" like approach to bipartisanship.

Just be honest and say what you really mean. Don't hide it in this rhetoric about "playing nice", because your less than conspicuous facade of being the mature one in the sand box is weak.

DSKohn said...

It is very difficult for the leader of any nation to admit when he/she was wrong. In fact, on almost every major foreign policy issue and many domestic issues, George Bush has done a complete 180 turn, but without admitting, which further infuriates his critics. He stopped being unilateralist in almost every foreign policy situation and stopped supporting democracy movements in parts of the world where it would be stupid to support them. He went from deregulation to bailing out the let's face it, idiot bankers.

It infuriates his critics that he does not admit to it. And I have a strong dislike for many Bush Administration policies, though I choose to be civil in my criticism and will do the same for President Elect Obama. The mainstream media, however, feels different. Americans have to face facts that our once proudest and greatest publication, the New York Times, has fallen from Grace and the rest of the American MSM has gone with it. On both sides, much of the media, with some exceptions is either grossly biased, or irresponsible or both. It is the nature of American politics.

As far as their treatment of George Bush, they would not have had quite as much ammunition if his policies had been prudent and his personality less rigid. Ronald Reagan had to deal with both a liberal media and insane left wing professors in American academia. Reagan was a charmer who looked for common ground with his opponents and unlike Bush, knew how to listen to the policy ideas of people who were smarter than him. The right personality can weather even the most hostile media environment.