Michael Scherer has a piece in Time Magazine’s Swampland blog criticizing Senators Dodd and Conrad for accepting favorable rates from mortgage lenders. (Better than listed rates, but not crazy better.) He thinks that just because one of the Senators oversees the Senate Banking Committee, that Senator should hold himself to some kind of higher ethical standard—like not to accept sweetheart rates from an entity he regulates. This is like asking the Senator not to be a Senator. Why would he do that? Turn down financial favors? Crazy talk.
I do think there are two important issues in the piece, however, worth examining. At the least, there are questions worth asking.
1. Why do all the well-regarded newspapers and magazines have a “blog” section? Either the piece is part of the magazine/newspaper or it’s not. That it’s published online isn’t the point. I think these “blogs” are a way of avoiding payment (or at least regular scale payment) to journalist-bloggers and at the same time a means of accruing additional costsaves by not bothering to edit, fact-check, or proofread the content. This would be in a different way than their not bothering to edit, fact-check, or proofread all the other content they publish elsewhere on paper or the Web. Big publishers fail to edit, fact-check, or proofread that content in a far more expensive and elegant manner. Seems to me.
2. Why do all the well-regarded newspapers and magazines not think that anyone notices how inherently biased towards Obama their reporting (or “blogging”) is? Scherer’s first line: “The endless and insufferable presidential candidate guilt-by-association game may have finally led to a big story.” This line is worth looking at because he ain’t talking about McCain’s coverage.
a. It would be helpful if he added a little color, a touch of clarification: is he referring to the “distractions” caused by the Right Reverend Jeremiah Wright, noted racist and hate-monger? Bill Ayers, renowned anti-American terrorist? Model businessman, Tony Reszko? Or, does he refer not to Obama’s associates at all, but to McCain’s? People like…like…uh, yeah. Must be Obama’s.
b. Should it not matter to the Press and to the public that this scurvy lot includes Obama’s closest friends and advisors? Barry’s strength and majesty are so great as to wash away any of the (putative) sins of his henchmen? My, his power is great indeed.
c. Has the “endless and insufferable” nature of the campaign not been facilitated by the sheer volume of Obama’s poor choices in friends and advisors?
Our point today really isn’t about Senator Dodd (but to echo Scherer…what was he thinking???), but is about the Press’s attitude, and indeed Obama’s own stance, prohibiting the questioning of any of Barry’s statements, frequent gaffes, or filthy associates. Any critical or probing examination of Obama is a distraction. Pulls our attention away from his message of hope and change. We are not worthy to loose the sandal of his feet. So don’t ask.