With less than three weeks to go before the crucial midterm elections, the folks at Rolling Stone magazine have decided to pen a love letter to Barack Obama clearly in the hopes of motivating readers to get out and vote for Democrats.
Forget about the President's horrible poll numbers and the feeling by a stunning number of Americans that the country is on the wrong track, the current White House resident has a truly impressive list of accomplishments according to author Tim Dickinson, so much so that he's the best leader America has had since Lyndon Baines Johnson (h/t NB reader Dave, accompanying spoof cover photo courtesy The Razor):
One of the more annoying tics in the current bubble of national media coverage of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's truly bizarre granting of access to Rolling Stone magazine was the utter lack of any description of the magazine -- neither its ideology (hard-left) or its central focus (rock and pop music). Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz provided a little depth with an article on Thursday, which began:
In the summer of 2008, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner ended an interview with Barack Obama -- whose campaign he financially supported -- by saying, "Good luck. We are following you daily with great hope and admiration."
So Kurtz pronounced it "surprising" when the magazine was "assailing Obama from the left." But in fact, we pointed out in February 2008 that venomous Rolling Stone political writer Matt Taibbi was trashing both Obama and Hillary Clinton as "superficial, posturing conservatives." So why couldn't reporters acknowledge this was a left-wing, anti-war magazine? Wouldn't that color how people saw a "Runaway General" controversy?
Post-Palin Speech Update: How's that poll going now, Bill?
Imagine it's a few days before the Dem convention. In a big—BIG—surprise, Barack Obama names Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy his vice-presidential running mate. You're a partisan Republican. Do you?:
a. demand that Obama drop Kennedy from the ticket; or
b. sit back and enjoy the, uh, ride.
I'm guessing the great majority of red-blooded Republicans would answer 'b.' Why wouldn't you want a weak link on the opposing ticket? So what kind of scare has Sarah Palin has put into the MSM that various of its members, like Jack Cafferty, are floating the notion that McCain should consider dropping Palin? Do they sense she could be a real game-changer?
If a hypothetical tabloid owned by, say, Richard Mellon Scaife, had a cover story with scurrilous accusations about Joe Biden, do you think Chris Matthews would be waving it about on camera and Keith Olbermann citing it? Neither do I. But if for some reason they did, would they possibly fail to mention the mag's ownership?
But Matthews saw fit—not once but twice—to display the cover of Us magazine, with its story "Babies, Lies and Scandals" about Sarah Palin. Olbermann alluded to it as well. And who is the owner of Us? Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone . . . and a big-time donor to Barack Obama. How big a donor? You can view his list of contributions here, with an image after the jump.
Now it's true that Matthews discounted the "lies" allegation. But why give currency to dubious accusations—by a magazine whose stock-in-trade is celebrity gossip—by displaying them repeatedly on a national news show? There was no suggestion that Us, unlike the National Enquirer in John Edwards' case, had done any significant independent reporting. This is apparently scandal-mongering, pure and simple. And of course, neither Matthews nor Olbermann mentioned the Wenner connection.
Can a publisher, editor, and owner of magazines be any more biased than proudly admitting on national television that he's contributed to Barack Obama's campaign?
While you ponder, consider that on Sunday, the publisher and editor of Rolling Stone -- who just so happens to also own Men's Journal and Us Weekly -- told CNN's Howard Kurtz that he's given money to the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee.
In fact, Jann Wenner did so without batting an eye in an interview aired on "Reliable Sources":
Rolling Stone is a left-wing magazine which puts liberal politicians on its cover and this year has already featured a cover story on Barack Obama, yet despite the seeming lack of any newsworthiness in a second Obama cover story, this one written by an “unabashed Obama supporter,” on Wednesday morning NBC's Today show devoted a full story to how the just-released issue of the magazine illustrated “fascination” with Obama. Co-host Matt Lauer marveled: “On the cover not a musician but a politician, Barack Obama. It's the second time he's been featured there but this time there will be no cover lines, just that photo. The magazine usually does that for the likes only of people like John Lennon. So what is the fascination with the Illinois Senator?”
In Lee Cowan's story, with “Barack Star: Obama on the Cover of Rolling Stone” as the on-screen tag, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, who conducted the interview with Obama, gushed: “The tides of history are running strong and fast these days. Ride them or be crushed. Obama has history on his side and that's pretty irresistible.” Cowan then described Wenner as “an unabashed Obama supporter. So not surprisingly today's six-page spread offers no hard questions,” as if that's any different than the friendly approach taken by Cowan and his media colleagues.
Cowan proceeded to recite Obama's answers to the easy questions, starting with how “he describes his iPod as a mix of everything from Stevie Wonder to Jay-Z,” before tossing in his own adulation: “Just this week, Donatella Versace debuted a clothing line she says was inspired by the Senator.” Cowan concluded with a portrait of a humble Obama just trying to do good in the face of unwanted publicity:
Despite it all Obama says he no longer takes great satisfaction in being the center of attention. In fact he tells the magazine that feeding his vanity is not what's important, but doing good work is. The problem: with one, comes the other.
It's turning into quite the morning for, uh, outing double-standards in the media. First was my item mentioning that Bob Herbert of the NYT had accused Hillary Clinton of "opening a trap door" under Obama. Readers are invited to imagine the PC outrage if a conservative had expressed the desire to do the same to the Illinois senator.
Now comes Mike Allen of the Politico. In his Playbook column of this morning, Allen offers this quote from Jann Wenner's over-the-top endorsement of Obama in Rolling Stone:
We have a deeply divided nation . . . A new president must heal these divides . . . Like Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama challenges America to rise up, to do what so many of us long to do: to summon 'the better angels of our nature.'
Allen's suggestion to Wenner in reaction to his breathless prose: "Get a room!"