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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Cindy A. Rose |


As Long as We Remember...

October 26, 2009

Perspective, Chi-town style

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

No, this is not some obscure reference to foodie preferences for deep dish pizza or hot dogs slathered in onions, mustard, bright green relish, celery salt and a pickled green tomato.


The headline above refers to the administration of President Barack Obama, our new crybaby-in-chief. He and his team have decided to go after Roger Ailes and Fox News. According to our president, Fox News is no longer to be considered a legitimate news organization, as they now possess a “perspective.”


First, anytime a sitting politician decries a lack of fairness in news coverage, the American people have a right to be skeptical. This is even truer when a particular president has been singled out for the most fawning, adoring news coverage in recent history.


This is the same president who had a major cable network host talk about the “thrill running up his leg” following the election night victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park last year. In fact, we’ll just file away the name of that host, Chris Matthews, for follow-up a little later.


According to President Obama’s team, from Anita Dunn, his chief media advisor, to his chief of staff, he will shun the Fox cameras and studio, punishing them for their role as “the research and communication wing of the Republican Party.”


Ignore the fact that the working reporters for Fox News are some of the best working whatever beat they’re on. Discount the idea that high-profile Democrats have historically accepted the chance to show their stuff on Fox programming. What is most telling (and alarming) is the idea that the White House administration won’t just stop at the cold-shoulder treatment of Fox personnel; they’re also intent on building a wall between Fox and the other cable news outlets.


On the ABC News Sunday program a week ago, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel suggested to host (and former Clinton insider) George Stephanopoulos that ABC might also want to avoid defending Fox and their journalistic practices. Or else, what?


The whole thing stinks, from top to bottom.


There is absolutely no expectation, in any political circle, that a president isn’t going to use his bully pulpit to reward favorable coverage and, shall we say, spend less time with those that might not be sympathetic. It’s always been that way… and will likely continue.


It’s the “perspective” argument that’s most appalling, and causes all of the liberal defenders to suffer a huge credibility gap, including some who write locally.


Fox News plays host to a number of opinion journalists, admitted Republicans and conservative personalities. Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and – to a lesser extent – Bill O’Reilly, all fit the bill for at least one of those definitions, some more.


Between the hours of five and six o’clock, Glenn Beck rules the Fox airwaves. Mr. Beck is not just a hard-line conservative; he’s actually a little goofy in an endearing way. He cries at the drop of a hat, especially if it involves a waving flag or home-bound soldier. To put it kindly, he’s not an Obama fan.


From eight until nine o’clock, Bill O’Reilly and The O’Reilly Factor take over. He’s a committed conservative, but it would be a stretch to call him a loyal Republican. First of all, it isn’t even obvious which political party he’s affiliated with. All one can conclude is that while Mr. O’Reilly surely tilts conservative, he isn’t shy about taking members of either party to task when the mood strikes. In fact, then-Senator Obama spent time on The O’Reilly Factor set during the campaign, and the two men had a spirited and compelling conversation. Neither walked away a definitive winner in this writer’s book.


When nine o’clock rolls around, Sean Hannity brings a core GOP point-of-view to Fox News. He is proud of who he is, and makes no bones about it throughout the hour-long gabfest. Mr. Hannity’s trademark is inviting some poor progressive schlub/schlubette on to argue a progressive point of view only to be out-debated by the aggressive and well-informed host. To say that Sean Hannity is anti-Obama is like saying the Pope is anti-abortion. Yes, and virulently so.


Back to the argument about perspective. While Fox is busy, from 5-6 and from 8-10 with opinion programming that reflects a conservative slant, MSNBC is running what would have to be called counter-programming. Ed Schultz, a wild-eyed progressive ranter, starts the liberal talk at six, followed by the aforementioned “thrill-legged” Chris Mathews.


After Mathews gets done extolling the virtues of Obama policy initiative and belittling the GOP response, Keith Olbermann takes over. Mr. Olbermann, who splits his time between cheerleading for the Obama Administration on MSNBC and sports reporting on EPSN, makes it a point of attacking his Fox News competitor O’Reilly on a nightly basis.


When Mr. Olbermann wraps at nine, Rachel Maddow takes over. Ms. Maddow is better versed on the national Democratic platform than most elected Democrats, and she also seems to believe that the only legitimate criticism of the Obama Administration is when she’s attacking them for not being liberal enough!


You see, it was never about a news organization having a perspective. It was always about a news organization having the wrong perspective, which is anything other than a pro-Obama bias. Our 44th president is a lot of things: he’s our first African-American president, he’s Harvard educated, he’s a former community organizer and a very effective communicator.


Oh, yeah, and he’s a Chicago-bred politician who understands how to navigate a smoky backroom, make the dead rise to vote, and create enemies lists and curry preferential treatment from his favored news outlets.


Now, there’s a perspective for you!


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
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