Newsweek/CNN's Zakaria Announces He's Voting for Obama

Not that it's any big surprise given his well-established liberal views and contempt for conservative policies, but in what is an unusually blatant abandonment of basic journalistic pretenses, CNN on Sunday -- and Newsweek in this week's issue -- provided time and space for Fareed Zakaria to outline why he will be voting for the “steady and reasoned” Barack Obama. Along the way, he denigrated Sarah Palin as “a rabble-rousing ultraconservative.” At the end of his Sunday (October 19) CNN program, Fareed Zakaria: GPS, Zakaria told his viewers of his choice, concluding:
John McCain represents the best of America's past, and Barack Obama the hope of the future -- the hope of a country that can make big changes and live out one of its greatest promises, of equal opportunities for all Americans, of every caste, creed and color. And America has always been a country that looks forward. So, I will be voting for Barack Obama on election day this year. (CNN.com video)
The Editor of Newsweek International was more explicitly hostile to McCain and Palin in the October 27 domestic edition of Newsweek where, in a piece titled “The Case for Barack Obama,” he made clear his disagreement with conservative policies and his left-wing view of past campaigns.

In the magazine article, Zakaria decried winning GOP campaigns: The 1988 campaign “when the Pledge of Allegiance, Willie Horton, flag factories and Belgian endives dominated” and expressed thanks for “the relatively brief appearance of William Ayers” this year compared to “the barrage of Swift-Boat attacks on John Kerry” in 2004.

He hailed McCain's “courage” -- for going left in three of four areas cited by Zakaria: “He has broken with his party and president on global warming, campaign finance, government spending and the use of torture.” Zakaria dismissed McCain's conservative policy positions: “His responses have been a recitation of old slogans -- cut taxes, limit the government, cut spending -- that are largely irrelevant to today's problems.”

In contrast, Zakaria praised Obama for not being “constrained by the fear of seeming liberal” and going to the left of Bill and Hillary Clinton:
Obama's broader economic agenda -- health-care reform, infrastructure investments and a major push for alternative energy -- are large solutions to the growing problems of our times. They are not radical, but neither are they overly constrained by the fear of seeming liberal. Bill and Hillary Clinton were always careful not to stray too far from the country's comfort zone. Obama is pushing to change the parameters of that zone. That's leadership....
My May 27 NewsBusters item, “CNN Creates Sunday Show for Liberal Journalist Fareed Zakaria

An excerpt from Zakaria's October 27 Newsweek piece:
It has become fashionable to lament the state of presidential politics and decry the tenor of campaigns. But in fact, this election has been a pleasant surprise....

Compare this election to the one in 1988 -- when the Pledge of Allegiance, Willie Horton, flag factories and Belgian endives dominated the campaign. Or contrast the relatively brief appearance of William Ayers with the barrage of Swift-Boat attacks on John Kerry....

John McCain is brave, and this courage has manifested itself not simply in the prisons of Vietnam. Over the past two decades he has broken with his party and president on global warming, campaign finance, government spending and the use of torture. He has chosen, for the most part, to forgo the racial coding that the Republican Party had used for decades in its campaigns. But despite these tremendous strengths, as a candidate for president in 2008, he is the wrong man for the wrong job at the wrong time.

To watch McCain address the current economic crisis is to see a man out of step with his time. His responses have been a recitation of old slogans -- cut taxes, limit the government, cut spending -- that are largely irrelevant to today's problems....

He apparently wanted to name as his vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, a pro-choice semi-Democrat with decades of experience, but then instead picked someone close to the opposite -- Sarah Palin, a rabble-rousing ultraconservative with limited experience and knowledge of the issues.

By contrast, Barack Obama has been steady and reasoned throughout his campaign. After careful deliberation, he endorsed the administration's decision to intervene in the financial industry but with caveats -- not to score campaign points but to make the program work better....

Obama's broader economic agenda -- health-care reform, infrastructure investments and a major push for alternative energy -- are large solutions to the growing problems of our times. They are not radical, but neither are they overly constrained by the fear of seeming liberal. Bill and Hillary Clinton were always careful not to stray too far from the country's comfort zone. Obama is pushing to change the parameters of that zone. That's leadership....

[S]ymbolism is also a powerful force in human affairs. Imagine what people around the world would think if they saw America once again inventing the future. And imagine how Americans would feel if they saw their country once again fulfilling its founding creed of equal opportunity, if they saw that there really were no barriers in their country, not even to the highest office in the land, not even for a man with a brown face and a strange name.

I admit to a personal interest. I have a 9-year-old son named Omar. I firmly believe that he will be able to do absolutely anything he wants in this country when he grows up. But I admit that I will feel more confident about his future if a man named Barack Obama became president of the United States.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center