Accuracy in Media

Mark Whitaker, the Washington bureau chief of NBC News, has a bad case of Obamania, and it revealed itself yesterday in the first sentence of his column for The Washington Post:

Seeking to make sense of Barack Obama’s first year as president — and why he has come across as competent but less magical than many Americans hoped — I’ve been rereading his autobiography, “Dreams From My Father.”

Only a journalist with blinders on could have watched Obama’s first year as president — marred by international embarrassments, domestic failures and broken promises so numerous that it’s a challenge to keep track — and have concluded that it was “competent.”

Yes, this year has been “less magical” than Obama dreamers had hoped. But that was inevitable because he lacks the leadership experience, political skills and governing qualifications to rise to the magical expectations set over the past two years by entranced journalists like Whitaker.

His fascination with Obama, the kind that even some liberal journalists have recognized as blatant bias, continues throughout the column. To hear Whitaker tell it, for instance, Obama’s failures as president are the result of “the faults of [his] virtues.” When you’re in love, even your paramour’s faults are virtuous!

The stimulus law wasn’t a bad idea, you see. It was a great Obama plan perverted by pork-hungry liberals in Congress who are supposed to be on Dear Leader’s team.

Whitaker redirects blame from Obama for every failure he mentions: Greedy bankers undermined Obama’s solution to the financial crisis; manipulative generals and advisers made him “look dithering” on Afghanistan; and “grandiose senators” corrupted the legislative process on health care to the detriment of the “studious” Obama.

The message from NBC’s bureau chief is that Obama is too virtuous to do anything wrong. He just needs to learn how to “exercise power.”

Whitaker clearly hasn’t lost his hope that Obama will change the world. He closed his column with praise for the president’s “capacity for self-examination and self-improvement. He has applied that introspection to becoming a better person, a better writer and speaker, and a better politician.”

Now we know, at least from the perspective of a liberal newsroom leader, why Obama took three days to publicly respond to an attempted terrorist bombing of an airplane in flight. He was walking the beaches of Hawaii during his ongoing vacation to reflect “on what he needs to do to be a more effective president.”

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