Accuracy in Media

The phrase “imagine if Bush had done that” has become a cliche in conservative corners since President Obama took office in January, and with good reason. In the media’s eyes Barack Obama can do no wrong; in those same media eyes, George W. Bush could do no right.

Victor Davis Hanson recapped the media’s different treatments of the two presidents in a piece for The Corner. Specifically, Hanson noted the lack of “substantive criticism of Obama’s flips on renditions, military tribunals, wiretaps, intercepts, Iraq, or … the Obama plan to run up more red ink in a year than Bush did in eight,” all of which spurred blog-inspired, hyper-critical coverage of Bush.

[T]o pick up any of these magazines and newspapers now is to see tortured apologies to explain why a flip-flopping Obama is playing “long-term” or “not going to get suckered by his base” or “first has to clean up the Bush mess” instead of disinterested commentary about: (a) the disconnect between what Obama now does and what he once said; (b) the staggering amount of debt added, and how to pay the sums off.

Everything the outraged liberal media once portrayed as “wrong” under Bush is suddenly fine and dandy because Obama is president. Or as Hanson added:

How odd that just six months ago we had screaming reporters and columnists talking about the near-end-of-days with Bush — and now doing contortions to assure us that things suddenly aren’t that bad after all, or that we must give Obama flexibility and time to sort out the prior mess. Quite scary, all this chest-thumping about tough journalistic integrity of 2001-8 suddenly devolving into, “Hey everyone, we can reassure you that the Emperor really does have clothes on.”

It reminds me of a post I wrote late last year for my personal blog, The Enlightened Redneck. Washington Post White House columnist Dan Froomkin, deemed “highly opinionated and liberal” by the newspaper’s own ombudsman back in 2005, had wondered aloud whether the White House press corps should be as “skeptical” of Obama as it was of Bush, to which I said “yes.” But obviously, and predictably, the liberal media have decided they don’t need to be the least bit skeptical of Obama.

Americans recognized the fawning coverage of Obama in last fall’s campaign, and they undoubtedly will recognize it again now that the media’s chosen one is in office — unless, as Hanson said, they abandon their “sheepish” coverage and start acting like watchdogs.

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