Yesterday, I wrote about the press conference President-elect Obama held in order to announce his national security team, and noted that during the press conference, a reporter asked Obama what had changed about Hillary’s foreign policy creds, which he dissed during the primaries, in the last few months. Here was the exact question:
During the press conference where Obama unveiled his national security team, Peter Baker of the New York Times brought up the tough primary fight between the President-Elect and Mrs Clinton: “…[Y]ou were asked and talked about the qualifications of the — your now, your nominee for Secretary of State, and you belittled her travels around the world, equating it to having teas with foreign leaders. And your new White House counsel said that her resume was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I’m wondering whether you can talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring.” The outgoing Illinois senator replied, “I mean, I think — this is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign. No, I understand, and you’re having fun.”
CNN’s Campbell Brown, in the “Cutting Through the Bull” segment of her show “No Bias, No Bull” last night, blasted Obama’s response:
Really, how silly of that reporter to dare ask you, Mr. President-elect, how it is that you completely mocked Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy experience just a few months ago and yet now you think there is no one more qualified than she to lead your foreign policy team?
It’s a clever device, treating a question so dismissively in an attempt to delegitimize it, as annoying as you may have found it. It is a fair question.
It was only in March of this year that Greg Craig put out a memo outlining point by point her foreign policy claims, calling them all exaggerated, just words, not supported by her record.
Now, look, maybe you regret what you said about Hillary Clinton. Maybe it was as you suggested Monday, all just said in the heat of the campaign.
If that is the case and you are both now rising above it, you deserve to be commended for that and could have been explicit in saying all of that Monday.
You could have explained the evolution of your thinking, instead of belittling a question you didn’t like.
Mr. President-elect, reporters we hope are going to ask you a lot of annoying questions over the next four years. Get used to it.
That is the job of the media, to hold you accountable, but this isn’t about the media, it’s about the American people, many of whom voted for you because of what you said during the campaign, and they have a right to know which of those things you meant and which you didn’t.
Apparently, as you made clear Monday, you didn’t mean what you said about Hillary Clinton. So what else didn’t you mean?
The media is going to be asking, and you were wrong Monday. Annoying questions are about more than just the press having fun. Annoying questions are about the press doing its job, and the people’s right to know.
Here’s the video:
While I certainly enjoyed that spot-on righteous rant, the first question that popped into my mind was where the hell was all this outrage over Obama’s clever manipulation of the press during the primaries and the general election campaign? Time’s Mark Halperin has gone on record recently talking about the “extreme pro-Obama press bias” displayed since Obama began his historic run for president. The Washington Post admitted their pro-Obama bias after the election. MSDNC’s Chris Matthews confessed after Obama won that he felt it was “his job” to help the incoming administration succeed – and he believes it so much that he’s apparently considering a 2010 Senate run against PA incumbent Republican Arlen Specter.
Brown’s damn right that the people deserve to know the truth and nothing but regarding people in positions of power as well as those who seek it, but that certainly was not the general consensus of the mainstream media for at least the last two years as it related to Barack Obama. We were treated to fawning story after fawning story – not just about Obama, but his wife, and his kids … about their fashion selections, their eating habits, etc. Since he’s been elected, those types of stories have only increased (more here), with only the occasional critical story appearing in the papers and on news sites.
The biggest struggle Obama faced this year was the Rev. Wright controversy, and most in the media would have kept that skeleton in the closet had it not been for Fox News and ABC News, both networks of which aired the Rev. Wright tapes once they got their hands on them in March. And even after that, the coverage Obama got on the issue from most other outlets was the same type of coverage Bill Clinton got during LewinskyGate; yeah, the press covered the story, but they did it from the “victim” angle – portraying both Clinton then and Obama earlier this year as “victims” of a “right wing smear machine,” attempting to discredit Clinton’s and Obama’s respective critics. They did the same thing on the subject of Bill Ayers – with some even suggesting that tying Obama to Ayers, a white man, was “racist.”
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Journalists like Campbell Brown, the Times reporter who asked Obama the question about Hillary’s foreign policy creds, and a few others appear to be trying to make up for lost time these days when it comes to critical examinations of The One, but color me unimpressed. Obama’s going to be sworn in as president in a matter of weeks thanks in no small part to the guiding, loving hands of news outlets like the NYT and CNN. When it counted most – which is to say when Americans were making up their minds as to who they wanted to lead this country for at least the next four years, the mainstream media fell down on the job and made no secret about their loyalties and in the process pushed enough undecideds into Obama’s corner.
Brown and others have no one to blame but each other for Obama’s arrogant attitude towards the press. For 24+ months, they made him believe he was above reproach, and now that the election’s behind him, he’s letting them know that he’s still the boss and that they’re going to still have to play the game by his rules. Just look at how Fox is getting shut out of asking questions at Obama pressers, for example, because they refuse to play by his rules. Who’ll be shut out next?
We’re now dealing the the hand the media helped deal to the nation, and they should not be forgiven nor their deliberate actions forgotten, no matter how much they may toughen up towards Obama in their attempts to regain credibility.