Howard Kurtz on Tuesday did something rather noteworthy two weeks before Election Day: he scolded the media's coverage of the Tea Party while at the same time bashed press members for excessively praising Barack Obama during the run-up to the previous elections.
This rare appearance of honesty about journalism's pathetic performance in the past three years makes "How the Media Blew the Midterms" an absolute must-read:
The media narrative by now is set in concrete: The voters are teed off, rising up, mad as hell and ready to wreak havoc.
There is a whiff, if you read between the lines, that the expected outcome is somehow unjust. The Democrats are going to get their backsides handed to them, in this telling, because the Obama administration has clumsily failed to explain what it’s done for the folks, and because of slightly scary passions unleashed by the Tea Party crazies.
The journalistic tone was somewhat different in 2006, when exasperated voters handed the House and Senate to the Dems, and 2008, when Barack Obama sold himself as a post-partisan savior.
Indeed. But this was just the beginning:
For Jano Cabrera, a Democratic strategist, the subject strikes a nerve. “My wife and I were having this very conversation,” he says. “When we were trying to seize power, we had justified anger, and now we talk about uninformed voters.” Obama inherited unprecedented challenges, Cabrera says, but in politics “you can’t go back and say it’s the other guy’s fault.”
Interesting that Kurtz would find a Democrat strategist not only agreeing with this being foolishness, but also willing to go on the record about it.
But there was still more:
In such a topsy-turvy season, one simple solution is…blaming the voters! They are so caught up in faulting Obama for everything but bad weather, so mesmerized by the right-wing noise machine that they can’t see straight. Yes, the refrain goes, high unemployment is heartbreaking, but do people really think they’re going to do better under Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell?
Small problem: These are the same voters who broke with more than two centuries of Oval Office white men by electing Obama. Weren’t many of us praising their judgment and tolerance then?
Indeed. The wave election of 2006 followed by Obama's ascendancy two years later met with with praise of the electorate by media members. The anger at Bush and Republicans was wise and to be commended as was the desire for change.
But now that such sentiments are being felt of a Democrat president and his Party, the electorate are suddenly ill-informed and racist.
As Kurtz noted, this double standard is not only obvious, but also quite preposterous of so-called journalists responsible for reporting the news and not their opinion of it.
On the other hand, as Kurtz noted in his conclusion, such ineptitude is quite common from today's advocacy media gang:
The biggest media blunder, in my view, was the walk-on-water coverage that Obama drew in 2007 and 2008. The only real debate was whether he was more like FDR (Time) or Lincoln (Newsweek). The candidate obviously played a role in creating his own myth, but it was the breathless media that sent expectations soaring into the stratosphere. Once Obama had to grapple with two wars, a crippled economy and reflexive Republican opposition, he had no place to go but down. The press has long since fallen out of love with the president, but the overheated hyperbole did him no favors.
Who’s to blame for the coming electoral tsunami? We ought to be careful about dumping on the most convenient scapegoat, those moronic voters. In politics, it’s not that complicated: you either deliver or you pay the price.
Seems simple, doesn't it - unless, of course, your biases as so strong that they cloud your ability to see the truth even when it's staring you in the face.
Nicely done, Howard. Bravo!