Essay: The Post-ABC Debate Media Meltdown

The Press doesn't care about these things, why should you?

This originally appeared in the April 21st edition of Human Events.

The Media's Reaction to George and Charlie
Call it the Audacity of Journalism.

ABC's Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos slipped and let a bit of actual reporting seep into their Democrat Presidential debate moderation efforts on April 16. They mistakenly engaged in fifty minutes worth of pertinent inquiry, largely regarding the patriotic perspectives and numerous troubling relationships of Illinois Senator Barack Obama -- and to a lesser extent examining the fact that New York Senator Hillary Clinton has a Herculean ability to create her Living History out of whole cloth.

The response from the Left has been withering and unremitting.

And by the Left, I mean the media themselves. Sure, liberal internet and radio was rife with material fit for a phalanx of psychologists, but a great deal of angst and anger was there for the analyzing in the "traditional" news and information outlets.

 

Sure, Liberal internet and radio was rife with material fit for a phalanx of psychologists, but a great deal of angst and anger was there for the analyzing in the "traditional" news and information outlets.

The list of aggrieved media cohorts is many, and they as one chose to eschew any analysis at all of the people running for President, instead angrily turning their pop-guns on the questions -- and questioners -- they found to be so distasteful.

Starting with George and Charlie's own ABC News. Colleague David Wright referred to their "grueling round of questions focused on issues such as Obama's patriotism, and his more controversial friends." Wright then cited four comments from viewers, three of which were negative, and concluded by helpfully promoting a far-Left publicity effort to come -- against his network: "There's now an organized campaign by the liberal group MoveOn.org and others to send a message to ABC" -- which ABC News and Wright kick-started with this story.

David Wright referenced Reverend Jeremiah Wright, but failed to mention the latest development in the Obama Has Bad Friends saga: William Ayers, the convicted Weather Underground terrorist whose support and counsel Obama sought when he was first seeking state office.

CBS's snippy account mentioned both, but ran with the title "Debate Backlash." Reporter Dean Reynolds -- feeling the Illinois Senator's pain -- proffered "Obama said today that what you saw during the debate was the rollout for the Republican campaign against him in the fall. So it must have been painful for him to have it come out during a debate with a fellow Democrat."

NBC Nightly News's Brian Williams was more than willing to join in the carrying of Obama's water. "Last night the questioning became part of the story. So much so that Obama today said it was a preview of the Republican attack that he expects in the fall campaign."

There were stories and columns of similar bent in amongst many other places the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Philadelphia Daily News.

The connecting thread of criticism is that these were allegedly Republican questions, improperly posed during a Democratic debate. The notion that these were merely good questions -- finally posed during any debate -- simply eludes them.

The converse occurring does not, of course, raise the big media's ire. There were myriad silly liberal questions asked of Republicans throughout their primary process, but perhaps the silliest was the May 3 query from Politico's Executive Editor Jim VandeHei, who put to GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney "What do you dislike most about America?"

None of these "Democratic" questions in Republican primaries resulted in the "Debate Backlash" Media flurry we are now seeing in defense of Obama.

George and Charlie have upset their brethren, upstaging them by properly doing their jobs. This can not be allowed to stand. That Obama and (to a lesser extent) Clinton were completely incoherent in their answers does not matter -- what matters is that these questions should never have been asked.

Because the media doesn't find Obama's spending two decades mentoring under a paranoid and racist reverend and seeking the endorsement of a self-described underachieving domestic terrorist -- or Clinton's serial mendacity -- worthy of investigation, or even of mention.

It fails to register with them -- or matters not to them -- that you might view these issues differently. It is this failure of understanding of -- or total disdain for -- their alleged audience that finds them losing money hand over fist, and viewers and readers in scores and droves.