Dan Greenfield relishes the ironies of the Obama Administration’s conflicts with the very same establishment Media which propelled it into power.
The quarrel between Obama and the Media is largely a lovers’ quarrel, but the love is only there on one side. The media made Obama what he is. But what he is, among many other things, is a control freak spawned by a political ideology that distrusts everyone and consolidates power at all cost.
The media loved Obama, but it discovered early on that he did not love it back. Instead of basking in the adoration of the Candy Crowleys and the Anderson Coopers and the massive corporate machines behind them, the love child of every liberal fantasy shut them out, rigidly controlled their access and ruthlessly punished unauthorized conversations with the press.
The media had made Obama into a tin god, but were constantly suspected of heresy. Instead of being rewarded for their loyalty, they were kept at arm’s length.
Obama Inc. knew that their biggest asset was the narrative. A close study of Obama’s qualifications or accomplishments would have given no conceivable reason for voting for him. The only thing he brought to the table was race and even in this he was less qualified than most of the black men who had run for president.
The narrative was the dearest treasure of Obama Inc. It was the one thing that its cronies protected. The economy could tank, wars could be lost and an asteroid could smack into the Pacific Ocean and none of it mattered nearly as much as the golden narrative. They didn’t trust anyone with it including the media.
The media these days doesn’t have much. Its numbers are bad in every medium from the tube to the inky pages of newsprint to the crackling AM radio waves. It isn’t very profitable. Often it’s a dead weight. But it wields a great deal of institutional power. The New York Times and CNN may both be dogs when it comes to the balance sheets, but owning either one gives you an impressive amount of heft in the national dialogue; though not as much as working for one of them does.
Power is all that the media has. Its power is projected in a fairly narrow circle. Fewer people are reading, watching and listening to it, so its circle becomes more incestuous. Everyone has learned to act like a member of the D.C. press corps, interpreting events through the lens of old West Wing episodes. The resulting noise reaches fewer people, but helps form the shaky consensus on which the institutional power of the media stands.
In its dying hour, the media used that power to ensure the double coronation of a corrupt Chicago politician with a facility for mimicking speech patterns. And that politician rewarded it by trying to bypass it and set up his own media.
Obama’s vision of the proper place of the media isn’t just at his feet, but under his control. Instead of dealing with the media, he has tried to cut it out of the loop by putting a larger emphasis on social media and developing narratives through think-tanks and media influencing groups. It was a power struggle that the media was initially baffled by. It had held out an ice cream cone to the little boy, only to have the little boy kick it in the shin, grab the ice cream cone and run away.
For years the media had groused about a lack of transparency, the unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers and the hostile relationship between Obama Inc’s minions and many reporters. The grousing was usually understated. It could be mentioned offhand, but not too loudly. When Bob Woodward made the mistake of speaking his mind, he was swiftly punished for it by the avatars of the post-media media, while the old media sat silently and watched the show.
But then Obama pushed its limits by invading the sanctum of the Associated Press. It was one thing when the administration was targeting whistleblowers, but quite another when the media’s power became part of the collateral damage.
The week of scandals was the media reminding Obama that his smooth ride had been provided by them and that the ride could get very bumpy if his media ponies decide to take the back road to Benghazigate or drop by the IRS headquarters. It’s a bluff, of course. The day may come when the media takes Obama out back and disposes of him so that the new messiah, perhaps in a pantsuit, can ascend the old Camelot throne, but that day isn’t here yet.
Scandal week was a game of chicken between Obama and the media to see who would blink first. Would Obama decide to respect the institutional power of the media or would be consider pushing forward until the media blinked. A brief history of Obama Inc. suggests that he will keep pushing on. Obama backs down from Muslim terrorists and Russian government thugs, but not from Americans.
Like most cowards, Obama only attacks those he knows won’t fight back. And the only people who won’t fight back are either helpless or bound by their politics not to resist the liberal messiah.
Obama knows that the media does not dare harm a hair on the head of the liberal agenda. And he made certain to appoint a Vice President whom no one in their right mind would want to see take over. Until 2016, it’s Hussein or the highway. The media has shown that it can hamstring him even when the coverage is only mild. It is quite capable of turning up the temperature to boiling, though not without a civil war with Media Matters, Think Progress and a chunk of the liberal new media.
The media is a prisoner of its own ideology. It can’t hit Obama too hard… yet. Not until they’re making the case that Hillary will do a better job of governing than this inexperienced tyro did. Having abandoned any professional integrity years ago, it would be too late for most of the media to reclaim it now. Even in the name of its own institutional power.
Mona Charen is not taken in by this administration’s efforts to evade responsibility for doing nothing to save American lives in Benghazi.
The president invites us to conclude that his “my diplomats” language is proof of his passionate concern for their welfare. But there’s more than a whiff of protesting too much in the president’s comments and those of his spokesman. Pfeiffer went so far as to label questions about what the president did on the night of September 11, 2012, as “offensive.” Bristling at a question from Chris Wallace about whether the president was in the Situation Room that night, Pfeiffer huffed, “The assertions from Republicans that the president didn’t take action is offensive.” When Wallace persisted with “I’m simply asking a question: Where was he? What did he do? How did he respond . . . ?” Pfeiffer could say only that “the president was in the White House that day, kept up to date by his national-security team, spoke to the Joint Chiefs of Staff earlier, secretary of state, and as events unfolded he was kept up to date.”
Taking offense, or pretending to, is a favorite tactic of this White House, but let’s understand it for what it is — a combination of bullying and evading responsibility.
President Obama has showered us with virtually minute-by-minute descriptions of his activities on the night Osama bin Laden was killed. We’ve been vouchsafed photos of the national-security team watching events in real time. The president used the word “I,” “me,” or “my” twelve times in a 1,300-word speech. But to ask how the president conducted himself on the night of September 11 crosses a line?
According to testimony from Leon Panetta, following a previously scheduled 5 p.m. meeting at which Benghazi was mentioned, the president did not speak again to his secretary of defense or the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the attacks on the consulate and then later the annex unfolded. The following morning, the president jetted off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas.
Pfeiffer asserts that it’s false and offensive to say that the president took no action, but the secretary of defense acknowledged as much. In October 2012, Leon Panetta explained that while “we quickly responded” with ships, FAST teams, and forces to the region as soon as the attack was reported and were “prepared to respond to any contingency,” they did not act because there was a principle at stake: “You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.” (This explanation was later contradicted.)
Is that really a U.S.-military principle? It’s one thing to say that, in the absence of hostilities, initiating military action should be undertaken only after a full evaluation of all options. But when Americans are under attack, shouldn’t the cavalry come over the hill if they possibly can?
Certainly that’s how Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty saw things. Completely outnumbered and outgunned, they nonetheless ran to the consulate and annex to man whatever guns they could lay hands on and attempt to defend their fellow Americans. They gave their lives doing so. The Obama administration gave nothing — not even the truth.
Jonah Goldberg points out that nobody needs to find a specific order in Barack Obama’s handwriting. He has made it very clear, time again, that anyone daring to oppose his policies or himself is beyond the pale.
Obama’s culpability in all of this isn’t restricted merely to his sins of omission. Throughout his presidency, Obama has set a very clear tone.
He’s made it clear that people who disagree with him are fevered, illegitimate, weird, creepy, dangerous, stupid, confused, ignorant, or some other adjective you might assign to a revamped version of the Seven Dwarfs. He’s explained that he doesn’t mind “cleaning up after” Republicans but he doesn’t want to hear “a lot of talking” from them. The time for democratic debate is always behind us with an administration that began with the mission not to let a crisis go to waste, for as Obama said in his second inaugural address, “Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time.”
Moreover, President Obama often insists we live in a country where the “government is us,” where there’s no need to fear tyranny “around the corner” because we could never be tyrannical against ourselves.
Number Russ Vaughn among the many Americans steamed over Obozo treating Marines as personal servants holding umbrellas over him and his guest.
The military community, that is all those except the politically-correct, perfumed princes in the Pentagon, are genuinely ticked over this public display of ignorance and contempt for military tradition. It is a particularly egregious offense because, as many veterans are pointing out, male military personnel aren’t even supposed to carry umbrellas when in uniform. A partial concession has been made for females, most likely due to the need to protect hair and makeup and thus, their general appearance.
If you want to get a taste of the reaction in the military community, go over to my favorite military blog, This Ain’t Hell (but you can see it from here) and read the comments. Warning: strong language. One of the commenters there included a link to the photo page of the 173rd Airborne Brigade which shows how a bunch of battle-hardened paratroopers deals with hard rain during a public ceremony. Notice how soaked those uniforms are. Of course the VIP’s and visiting dignitaries are under a roofed pavilion, something the White House staff might have given consideration to in setting up this botched press conference.
Our metrosexual commander-in-chief should understand that those Marines are not his butlers.
Mike Piccione explains that Obama actually caused those Marines to breach uniform regulations. Umbrellas are sissy and civilian, and male Marines in uniform do not carry umbrellas, period.
According to Marine Corps regulation MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations chapter 3, a male Marine is not allowed to carry an umbrella while in uniform. There is no provision in the Marine Corps uniform regulation guidelines that allows a male Marine to carry an umbrella.
A triple helping of scandals and five years of arrogance on the part of the president and administration are coming together to mark a turning point in relations between this administration and the Washington political establishment. The special protection that Barack Obama has enjoyed for five years may be coming to an end.
The town is turning on President Obama — and this is very bad news for this White House.
Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama — and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now. Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this president to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.
Buy-in from all three D.C. stakeholders is an essential ingredient for a good old-fashioned Washington pile-on — so get ready for bad stories and public scolding to pile up.
Vernon Jordan, a close adviser to President Bill Clinton through his darkest days, told us: “It’s never all right if you’re the president. There is no smooth sailing. So now he has the turbulence, and this is the ultimate test of his leadership.” Jordan says Obama needs to do something dramatic on the IRS, and quick: “He needs to fire somebody. He needs action, not conversation.”
Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats. And the press, after years of being accused of being soft on Obama while being berated by West Wing aides on matters big and small, now has every incentive to be as ruthless as can be.
This White House’s instinctive petulance, arrogance and defensiveness have all worked to isolate Obama at a time when he most needs a support system. “It feel like they don’t know what they’re here to do,” a former senior Obama administration official said. “When there’s no narrative, stuff like this consumes you.”
Republican outrage is predictable, maybe even manageable. Democratic outrage is not.
Charles Hugh Smith discusses the popular liberal meme of widening inequality, and comes to the conclusion that inequality is widening alright, but the beneficiaries of this inequality are actually thoroughly and completely in cahoots with the leftwing administration which, on the one hand, makes political hay using class warfare rhetoric about inequality, while, simultaneously on the other hand, managing economic and central bank policy ruthlessly in pursuit of the interests of the financier sector at the expense of the general community.
Individuals are not powerless to change their circumstance. This is the basis of the American Dream (and also the Chinese Dream, Mexican Dream, Iraqi Dream, etc.) The question then becomes: how is the system “wired,” i.e. what are the obstacles, incentives and disincentives presented to individuals who are trying to better their circumstance?
It’s important to ask this question, and to be honest in our assessment of victimhood, oppression and individual responsibility.
The widening chasm refers to both the income chasm between the financier class (1/10th of 1%) and the 99.9%, and the chasm between the real economy and the official narrative of the economy. The essence of propaganda is to substitute an officially conjured narrative for independent critical thinking.
In the American propaganda narrative, the central state and bank are admirably supporting a “recovery” that though uneven in places is soundly on the path to widespread prosperity.
The primary support of this narrative is ginned-up statistics (bogus unemployment rate, etc.) and asset bubbles inflated by easy credit to the masses and unprecedented low-cost credit to the financier class. These are the basic tools of propaganda: choose a metric that you can control or game, and make that the measure of success.
In the Vietnam War, the body-count of enemy combatants was the metric chosen by the propaganda machine to measure success. Unsurprisingly, stacks of dead civilians were duly counted to boost morale and to mask the failure of the war’s managers.
Nowadays the unemployment rate is the new body-count: a metric that can be gamed to reflect an illusory success. Just erase tens of millions of people from the workforce, count every 4-hour a week job and dead-reckon a few million jobs were created outside the statistical universe (the Birth-Death Model of small business creation) and voila, the unemployment rate magically declines even as the economy and the job market stagnate.
The other metric of choice is the stock market, which has been inflated by central bank policies and identified as the gauge of recovery by a political class anxious to deflect inquiries into its systemic corruption and monumental policy failures.
The official narrative carefully leaves the kleptocracy, crony-capitalism and cartel rentier arrangements firmly in place. As noted above, those benefitting from the cartel-state neofeudalism defend their perquisites as “natural,” i.e. the result of meritocracy. This adds another layer of propaganda persuasion to the official narrative.
An independent, critical account of the American economy would soon raise questions about the structural causes of inequality by asking cui bono, to whose benefit is the system arranged?
If we can honestly say that the system’s primary source of inequality is a dynamic economy that rewards the top 10% who are best able to deploy skills and capital, then that suggests one set of potential remediations.
If however we find the system is unequal largely as a result of its cartel-state structure, then that suggests a political and financial reset is needed to clear the deadwood of corruption, malinvestment and state/central bank manipulation of statistics, finance and credit.
Barack Obama did not take the Manchin-Toomey expanded-background-checks bill’s defeat in the Senate very well. In fact, he called all of us opposed to that bill “liars” and said that this measure, which would not have prevented the shootings in Newtown or in Phoenix or any other of the well-known mass shootings, was a “common sense step to help keep our kids safe.”
It was never clear to me why Barack Obama or Pat Toomey thought the Constitution actually granted any power to Congress to regulate a non-interstate firearms sale that takes place across a table.
Senator Mike Lee explained that he voted against the bill because he recognized that all this was another liberal salami game, taking one more slice of our rights today and then coming back for another tomorrow.
The Toomey-Manchin amendment admirably attempted to carve out certain protections for gun owners, but today’s carve-outs are tomorrow’s loopholes. The current “gun show loophole” was itself once considered a legitimate carve-out that protected certain private sales.
Eratosthenes was moved to remark on the president’s sense of self-entitlement. When the left doesn’t get its way, the system has always failed.
I was just noticing this yesterday while listening to the President’s speech on the radio. If the democrats get their butts beat a hundred times in a row, we can predict they’re going to say some variation of exactly the same thing, a hundred times in a row, and that thing will be: This just goes to show that you voters have to give us more of a lock on power.
This is a big part of the reason why I don’t trust them, why their whole way of looking at politics is incompatible with the way the republic was built. Not wanting to over-simplify it too much, but they’re spoiled brats. It’s just like an ex-wife who wants her child support or alimony early: They got this idea in their heads about what is going to happen. Nobody gave them that idea. They literally just gathered around a conference table and wrote it all down. They formed the idea in what was, for all practical purposes, a vacuum, and nobody made any promises about any of it save for the promises they made to each other. On the strength of that thing not coming to pass, they portend misery and doom. Just like any spoiled brat.
They Won’t Give Me Their Guns!And it’s always something polarizing. They get a few RINOs to participate and on the strength of that, they throw around the word “bipartisan” like peas at a food fight or something…but really. If you haven’t been following the news too closely lately and someone described the bill to you and said “Now, what do you think is the Republican position on this and what do you think is the democrat position,” would you really stand their scratching your head going “duh??” because the bill is just so-common-sense and wonderful like Emperor Barry was saying yesterday?
In defeat, I would expect a party that really does deserve more power, to say, in America: Well, back to the drawing board. It wasn’t meant to be. Not right now, at any rate. ...
In defeat, the democrats always say the same thing: This was supposed to happen — we decided so — and it didn’t happen that way, so this shows things are really messed up! Voters, you have to help us get rid of those Republicans. When we said we wanted a form of government that works for everybody, we were not talking about them! Their opportunity to be represented in our nation’s capitol, is the one thing that is really, really, heap-big busted right now, and that has to be the next thing fixed.