Addison Gardner: Always Right
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Katie Couric staved off retirement from CBS last week and knocked the red-eyed ratings vultures off their perches at Black Rock.
Racing out the revolving door and hailing a West 52nd Street Yellow Cab for Kennedy Airport, Couric had pulled off a career-saving coup: Her producers had negotiated an interview with Barack Obama in Jordan. Accompanying her overseas were ABC’s Charlie Gibson, NBC’s Brian Williams, 300 Obama foreign policy advisors and 11 illegal alien stowaways who thought they were bound for L.A.
Stranded in the U.S. was Mr. Short Straw. An Aspen Times reporter was assigned to cover McCain in the event he was smitten by an asteroid or he managed to lure the Dalai Lama to the Hotel Jerome’s J-Bar.
Obamamania roiled European petticoats from Paris to Berlin. There hadn’t been this much excitement on the Continent since Chef Pierre Herme mated passion fruit and chocolate in his Rue Bonaparte boutique.
When McCain traveled to Iraq last spring, NBC News anchor Brian Williams reflected on the trip with a two-sentence afterthought in the “Other political news…” section of his broadcast. Couric and Gibson bookended commercial breaks with similar asides: “Um, Senator McCain’s in Iraq, someplace, doing something.”
McCain ” once the maverick darling of anti-Bush scribes from New York to L.A. ” is now a blunted, rusting instrument: “Straight talk” walks, and Barack rocks!
Katie Couric interviewed Obama last Tuesday and then relinquished her folding chair to Charlie Gibson on Wednesday, who kept it warm for Brian Williams on Thursday. The teleprompter trio plied the junior senator with enough down-filled questions to stock a mattress factory.
Sen. Obama’s roadies pointed out, repeatedly, that he was leading a “congressional fact-finding delegation,” and any resemblance to a Ricky Martin concert tour ” or an eight-country-in-seven-day campaign blitz ” was strictly unintentional.
Barack treated Euro-crowds to his coolest Cheshire cat grin as he reminded them, “I am not the president,” and left his commander in chief podium seal in its felt bag aboard Air Force Wanna-Be-One.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki was so swept up in the media’s bead-snatching and breast-flashing that he bought four “Let’s Make Some Change!” T-shirts for his children, a life-sized Barack cardboard cutout for his wife and a dozen signed copies of “The Audacity of Hope” before endorsing Obama’s withdrawal timetable in a swoon.
Forgotten by Maliki in the euphoria of the moment was the fact that ” had he followed Obama’s demands for an presurge troop withdrawal last spring ” he would now be on the wrong side of the sod in Baghdad’s Al-Shaab soccer stadium, executed there alongside any women caught wearing lipstick.
The “Tyndall Report” is an agency commissioned by the American television networks to keep track of what 20 million news consumers are being fed during nightly newscasts. According to recent Tyndall tracking, network producers have devoted 166 minutes to covering Obama’s campaign since the June primary season ended and 67 minutes to covering Sen. McCain.
News consumers notice the disparity.
The trust the public places in its news journalists is a tattered and threadbare thing. A recent Zogby poll suggests that 83 percent of Americans think the media is biased, with 64 percent stating the media leans left. A Harris Poll indicates that the prestige of journalists is at an all-time low.
We used to rely on the press to tell us when congressmen were kiting checks in the House bank or stashing plastic-wrapped cash in their freezers. Now we expect journalists to dispense the Saran Wrap.
American election coverage is about as antiseptic as A-Rod’s bat when he leaves Madonna’s Central Park West apartment at 4 a.m.
Our journalists are supposed to earn their First Amendment privileges by telling us what’s happening in places we can’t visit. They’re supposed to winnow fact from fiction, expose political farce and separate beef from baloney.
Obama’s giddy glide through the Middle East and Western Europe delivered an embarrassing indictment of the state of American journalism. Even Andrea Mitchell ” acclaimed doyen of liberal reporterdom ” expressed her exasperation. Speaking of “fake interviews” and Obama’s “press management,” she complained to Chris Matthews, “Politically it’s smart as can be, but we’ve not seen a presidential candidate do this in my recollection ever before.”
Anyone who’s read this column over the past several months knows I’m no fan of Dubya or his lost boys in the former Republican-led Congress; they’ve been a disaster ” an ailment in search of a leadership cure, if ever there was one.
But Obama is the medicine that may kill its ailing host. America doesn’t need a double-barreled dose of Euro-style socialism. We need “change,” but state-sponsored socialism isn’t change; it presents a beguiling, Dorian Gray portrait, but its red pigments are the dried remnants of slaughtered millions.
Federal Election Commission records reveal that Democrats collected 15 times as much money from those who described themselves as journalists as Republicans did. FEC filings show that employees of media organizations gave $315,533 to Democrats and a paltry $22,656 to Republicans.
America deserves something much better than it’s getting from its professional journalist class. It deserves honesty, and it deserves the unvarnished, evenhanded truth about both of our presidential candidates.
I don’t mind being lectured to occasionally by my betters, but I’m losing patience with Obama’s unchecked arrogance, and I resent his talking down his nose at his fellow Americans for their failures as “citizens of the world.” I can’t speak Spanish fluently, and I can’t speak French.
Speak the simple truth, in simple English, Barack, and we will hear you.
How many Americans learned from their network newscasters that the junior senator from Illinois can’t speak Spanish or French, either?
Let’s see a show of hands.
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