Danny Lemieux sent me a link to what must be one of the clearest statements ever written about the media fetish regarding Democratic candidates generally, and Obama specifically. The author is Gerard Baker, writing in the London Times. After describing media love affairs with presidential candidates from Kennedy on up, Baker gets to the meat of the matter:
The alert among you will have noticed by now that what all these spiritually uplifting leaders have in common. They are all Democrats. Never in any of the chapters of this hagiography does a Republican, a conservative, appear in a remotely similar light. These alien creatures by contrast have always been portrayed as cartoonish representatives of the Dark Side of humanity, or, if they were really lucky, simply idiots, failed B-movie actors and irredeemably ignorant hicks with embarrassingly neanderthal views on women, religion and communism.
It’s been a while coming – neither Al Gore in 2000 (before the luminescence created by his recent joint Nobel/Oscar triumphs) nor John Kerry in 2004 quite fit the bill. But it’s fairly clear now that, with the near-certain nomination by the Democrats of Barack Obama everything is in place for the media to indulge in one of the greatest, orgiastic media fiestas of hero-worship since Elvis Presley.
You will not see a finer example of the genre than the cover story of this week’s Newsweek, which was entitled “The O Team”. This rhapsodic inside account of Senator Obama’s campaign reads a little like a cross between Father Alban Butler’s Life of St Francis and the sort of authorised biography of Kim Jong Il you can pick up in any good bookshop in Pyongyang.
Mr Obama is portrayed throughout as an immanently benevolent figure. Not human really, more a comforting presence, a light source. He is always eager to listen to all aides of an argument, always instilling confidence in the weak-willed, resolutely sticking to his high principles and tirelessly spurning the low road of electoral politics. I stopped reading after a while but I’m sure by the end he was healing the sick, comforting the dying, restoring sight to the blind and setting prisoners free.
You must read the rest of Baker’s article. It’s beautifully written and it perfectly nails the scary way in which the media worships their latest savior. And if you haven’t watched the video I recommended in the preceding post, you’ll definitely want to after having read Baker’s article.
UPDATE: If you have the stomach for it, in light of the above opinion piece, you’ll enjoy this perfect example of AP hagiography — er, I mean, an AP news report — about Obama:
Is Obama, with his incandescent smile and silky oratory, a once-in-a-century phenomenon who will blast open doors only to see them quickly close on less extraordinary blacks?
Or is he the lucky and well-timed beneficiary of racial dynamics that have changed faster than most people realized, a trend that presumably will soon yield more black governors, senators, mayors and council members?
Presidential campaigns have destroyed many bright and capable politicians. But there’s ample evidence that Obama is something special, a man who makes difficult tasks look easy, who seems to touch millions of diverse people with a message of hope that somehow doesn’t sound Pollyannaish.
Please forgive me while I abandon my keyboard a moment and fall down and worship at my Obama-shrine.
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