woody_zimmerman_118_2007Democrats – who called George W. Bush a “liar” and “murderer,” even Hitler, through a large part of his presidency – are up in arms because Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) had the bad taste to shout, “Liar!” at President Obama during the joint Congressional session of September 9. The congressman’s outburst came after President Obama declared that illegal aliens would not be covered under the health care/insurance he is pushing Congress to adopt.

Subsequent reports have shown that the president’s claim was disingenuous at best, and an outright falsehood at worst. Rep.Wilson knew this because of his committee work on the bill. Nevertheless, calling the president out in front of a national audience is simply not done. This has furnished a wonderful diversion for the media to chase, while Mr. Obama’s speech remains essentially unexamined.

The congressman called the White House, as soon as the joint session adjourned, to apologize to the president, but this is not enough for Their Holinesses in the House of Representatives. Mr. Wilson must be humiliated, vilified, stomped, cast down, lashed with a wet noodle, given a severe scolding, and sent to bed without any supper. Dems’ standards of decorum have magically morphed from name-calling and shoe-throwing, during W’s terms, to extreme unction during the Big O’s tenure. Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi aver that bad manners in the presence of The One is (as Winston Churchill once said) “something up with which we will not put.”

I like the new standards of decorum, but I wonder why they are so late in arriving. I also wonder – somewhat cynically, I admit – if this isn’t just a temporary rule of etiquette that will last only while there’s a Democrat in the White House. As soon as a Republican is elected, will we return to those halcyon, free-wheeling days when we can call the president rude names, praise films that depict his fictional assassination, mock his speech and deportment, and fart in his general direction? Ah, those were the days.

Truth be told, the Democrats’ media-lapdogs do seem to be getting a little restive under the iron yoke of Obama-worship. It’s not as much fun to be in the White House Press Corps these days, I ween. In fact, it probably stinks. No wonder the usual Media suspects jumped all over the Wilson story. Do any of us realize how boring it is to regurgitate the same old [mush], day after day, about how the country is in a “crisis” from which only the Dear Leader can save us? Eyes are glazing over here. Talk about a crisis. The whole thing reminds me of the cartoon of two vultures perched on a tree. One says to the other: “Patience my rear end – I’m gonna kill something…”

We’re not really in a news dead zone, of course. News is happening all around us. The problem is that most of that news isn’t really…well… newsworthy, according to the White House handbook. Because the events happening tend to make Mr. Obama and his administration look bad, they can’t be reported, except in the barest terms: e.g., “Our top story: Whitney Houston selects shoes for her new fall wardrobe. In other news: 100,000 people storm Washington, DC. Which insurance companies hired them? What were they wearing? (Details in our 3 AM report).”

This is a tough time to be an old-fashioned, cigar-smoking, hat-on-the-back-of-the-head reporter who asks tough questions and says, “oh yeah?” through a cloud of smoke when he hears evasive answers. One gets the sense that Rahm Emanuel has given reporters the word that they could sleep with the fishes if they don’t mind their p’s and q’s. Have we seen a more placid, docile, obsequious reportorial corps in the last 50 years? Not in my memory.

As an example, where is the comedy shtick? In my estimation, this would be a particularly rich time for comedy spoofs to emerge on President Obama and Vice-president Joe Biden – perhaps as the famous minstrel-show team, Mr. Tambo and Mr. Bones. (Bones: “Say, Mr. Tambo, I’ve simply got to get rid of my Secret Service detail. They’ve nearly killed me three times!” Tambo: “Why don’t you give ‘em another chance?”) Of course, no black actor would dare depict Mr. Obama, for fear of his life. A throw-away white actor in blackface would have to fill the role.

As I write this, there is no perceptible move toward airing Obama/Biden skits on Saturday Night Live, as occurred within minutes of Sarah Palin’s joining Senator McCain’s ticket. Almost instantly, actress Tina Fey began spinning a ditzy, air-headed spoof of Governor Palin – to wild media acclaim. She even won an Emmy for it. There is no doubt that her sketches framed much of the political center’s attitudes toward the governor. Yes, they were funny, but where were the comparable skits of Obama and Biden? Could nothing be made of their many gaffes, including the “57 states” claim, etc.? How about one where Joe Biden asked the wheel-chair-bound politician to stand up and take a bow? (JB used the guy’s first name to show how well he knew him – you know, like a personal friend.) Lots of great material, but where are the writers?

Although few instances of Obama/Biden comedy have emerged during this deadly-serious new regime (with the exception of Paul Shanklin’s satirical songs [1]), there still have been some humorous moments. One of these happened last week when Mr. Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar,” Van Jones, suddenly resigned just after midnight on Sunday of the Labor Day weekend. I don’t mean that his resignation was humorous – only the media circumstances surrounding it.

Mr. Jones was one of Obama’s 31 “czars” who have been placed in the administration’s inner circle without examination or confirmation by the Senate. The mainstream media have been remarkably incurious about this end-run around Senate confirmation, so very little is known about the czars. But Fox News investigative reporter Glen Beck realized more was there than met the eye. Only a little digging by Mr. Beck produced solid evidence that Van Jones was a committed communist, an extreme racist who believes “whitey” is pumping poison into black communities, and a “truther” who signed a 2004 petition calling for the Bush administration to own up to “permitting” the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 to happen so it could get us into a war. Mr. Jones also called Republicans a vulgar name in answering a question about how the GOP had blocked Democrat legislative initiatives, despite being vastly outnumbered in the Congress.

The mainstream media reported none of this information over the weeks Glen Beck was exposing it. Consequently, people who get their news exclusively from those media organs – i.e., The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS – knew nothing about Van Jones and his radical background. But the Beck reports had stirred up so much public protest – including a flood of e-mails and phone calls to the White House and Congress, sparking congressional calls for the goodly czar’s dismissal – that Mr. Jones simply had to go. He announced his resignation early Sunday morning, Sept. 6 – the least-covered time in the weekly news cycle, and on a 3-day holiday weekend besides. Mr. Jones attributed his resignation to a “vicious smear campaign” mounted against him by opponents of the Obama administration.

This left the mainstream media with a somewhat hilarious problem of how to report a significant resignation from the Obama administration on which they had reported almost no previous background information. (This is as close to high comedy as it gets in the slam-bang, live-on-the-razor’s-edge, laugh-in-the-face-of-death world of Big Media.) Bloggers and Internet news organs made much sport of the fact that readers and watchers of the NYT, NBC, et al, saw the Van Jones corpus laid out for the first time, when they heard about his resignation.

Naturally, Mr. Beck’s role was not mentioned in very complimentary terms in connection with the story. Some reports mentioned that Mr. Jones had belonged to an organization that had been pressuring commercial sponsors of Mr. Beck’s Fox TV program to withdraw their sponsorship – thereby implying that the Beck campaign against Mr. Jones had been a “reactive strike.”

The “reactive strike” theory seemed unlikely, however, as Mr. Beck had also been hammering “FCC Diversity Czar” Mark Lloyd, in recent weeks, for his publicized admiration of Hugo Chavez and his advocacy of a restored Fairness Doctrine, under the rubric of diversity. Mainstream media outlets had also declined to cover Mr. Beck’s disclosures about Mr. Lloyd. This non-coverage served to promote the idea that Mr. Beck’s campaign against Mr. Jones was wholly animated by monetary considerations. But the Blogosphere quickly shot this idea down.

Through the summer, the congressional “town meetings” dominated the non-mainstream news with almost daily clips of angry citizens of all ages bearding congress-people who were trying to sell the health-care/insurance monstrosity called Obamacare. The Mainstream Media barely mentioned these mild protests, except to denigrate the participating citizens as mobs of thugs, too-well-dressed hirelings of the insurance industry, and un-American enemies of the state. Hundreds of thousands of citizens cared enough about their country to attend these meetings. The White House contemptuously called them “Astroturf” – by way of implying that they were an artificial grass roots movement sponsored by Republicans, special interests, and other deviants.

Had these been protests against George W. Bush’s wars or his Homeland Security measures adopted to protect the country, Big Media would have been all over the story like ticks on a hog. (Cindy Sheehan and a handful of her war-protesting comrades got wall-to-wall coverage for months at W’s ranch in Texas.) But where were the “human interest” puff-pieces on the town hall protesters? Nowhere to be found – isn’t that interesting?

News is a “business” – as Mr. Obama noted in his recent eulogy to Walter Cronkite. He decried the way “profits” interfere with “the truth” – i.e., his way of wishing away the resurgent, uncontrollable non-Mainstream Media that keeps blocking his plans for “fixing” the country by exposing all those inconvenient little details (like Van Jones).

The Mainstream Media like to reassure each other that Glen Beck is a crazy right-wing nut whose stuff isn’t real news, but I have news for them: they are mistaken. He’s got a crazed shtick all right, but his stuff is real. I have watched Glen Beck’s program, and I know he is onto some real info that Americans should know about. Some of it is pretty disturbing. In recent days, he has aired exposés of Acorn that resulted in the Census Bureau canceling plans for Acorn to work on the 2010 census. Beck is smart and ambitious. Big Media should start paying attention.

By remaining in the tank for Barak Obama, Big Media has gotten itself in a real credibility-fix. Unless they extricate themselves pretty quickly, their rapidly declining customer-base is going to start realizing that it is not getting a reliable news product. When customers see this, whatever “profits” the NYT, Post, NBC, et al, are still earning (if any) will evaporate like snow on warm ground. No one will be watching their shows or reading their papers any longer. The compliant media will have committed “suttee” for the Dear Leader. Uncle Walter would not be pleased.


[1] “The Day Obamacare Died” by Paul Shanklin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9HS8n8Y4qo