Edward Klein’s “The Amateur” — and what it reveals about America’s partisan media

I got a $5 Amazon gift card, so I overcame my usual skinflint habits and purchased Edward Klein’s The Amateur.  It is a very easy read (I’m more than halfway through after only an hour and a half), and a scary one too.  The book’s title could just as easily have been “The Malignant Narcissist.”  It describes a White House under the sway of a man who is simultaneously unreasonably arrogant and insecure to the point of paranoia.  To cope with both of these pathologies, he surrounds himself with utterly loyal sycophants who, wrapped in their own insecurity, work hard to isolate the president from anyone who could interfere with their ideology, their power plays, and their egos.

Scary as the White House is, what’s really horrific is the way the media still works to protect the man and his plan.  The book makes clear that the media hasn’t been treated very well by the White House (no access), and that savvy media members have caught on to the fact that the Obama White House is a dysfunctional place.  They don’t care.  Obama is pursuing an agenda in which they fervently believe.  They won’t do anything to destroy the narrative.  Witness the election coverage that sees the media play lap dog to the Obama campaign, while working hard to undermine the Romney campaign.

Honest reporting would require them to stop this kind of partisan activity.  Wounded egos (and there are many because of the White House’s arrogance) would hint that the love would die.  But while the big donors — the ones who, in 2008, put their money where their mouths were — have kind of oozed away (they still talk the talk, but they don’t write the checks), nothing stops the media.  It talked the talk before, when the love affair was in its passionate ascendency, and it’s still talking the talk, despite the fact that the Obama love affair has proven to be nothing more than a campaign-fueled one night stand.

We all thought that the media showed its partisan stripes when it drove Obama’s campaign in 2008.  That was nothing.  At least then the media had the excuse of hope, ignorance, and novelty.  Now, though, there’s no excuse.  The media, despite knowing that Obama was grossly unprepared for the job and is driving the White House into the ground, nevertheless still campaigns for him as vigorously as ever.  If Obama wins in 2012, it will be because of the powerful cabal of media and Hollywood, the first of which provided the PR and the second the cash.  And I’ll tell you right now that there’s something seriously wrong with a country that lets those two entities dictate national policy.