Bob Owens, the Confederate Yankee, is wondering why the US mainstream media is so keen that someone be afraid for Obama's life. It's almost as if they want him to be assassinated. He points to the latest attempt - Early Show anchor Harry Smith, interviewing Ted Kennedy with the hacktastic line: "sometimes agents of change end of being targets, as you well know, and that was why I was asking if you were at all fearful of that." - and writes:
Such vague media assertions of a possible targeting of Obama have been occurring for over a year, and yet, when we actually look for evidence of such claims, they seem to have little or no merit other than other media accounts.Now Bob is a likeable and bright guy who, despite our many political disagreements and differences, I occassionally have a cordial email exchange with. He wrote to me this morning with a question:
I've no doubt that somewhere in the world there are those that would rather see Barack Obama dead than President, but the media has failed, in each an every instance, to provide support for this apparently evergreen claim. They recycle the charge, again and again, merely by "knowing" that someone must hate him.
I know that I am certainly getting tired of their attempts to assert a mortal threat against one of the more likable people (politics aside) in this race, and wonder why more bloggers have not yet castigated the media for recycling the possibility of a threat again and again, perhaps goading an unstable person to act upon them.
This needs to stop.
"Any chance you can explain why bloggers on the left aren't ripping the talking heads for this kind of stuff?"Well, speaking for myself its that I just don't take it very seriously. Bob's right - there's no there there. It's just the media mavens trying to wring some more American Idol drama out of the race. Ryan Seacrest: "Will Obama survive to become president? Find out...after the break!"
It's up there with all the stupid stuff written about Huckabee on Mitt Romney's chicken-eating habits and Obama not shaking Hillary's hand at SOTUS. The candidates haven't had any moral high ground over the media either - they've fuelled the media's drivelling with some spectacularly dumb and dirty campaigning tactics. I'm so heartfelt sick of it all and I've no intention of giving oxygen to this farcical coverage of the races.
I'm sorry if that disappoints but seriously - look at Memeorandum today and ask yourself if the primary races really deserve to suck all the air out of the news cycle at this stage in such a dominating fashion.
There's a major offensive, involving Iraq's only small units of tanks and copters, in Mosul right now. The city was meant to be quiet enough to draw the US presence down to one battalion. Is there a connection to the Caesar incident? No-one is asking so we'll never know. That's just one example of what's being missed.
Sarkozy's push for a multi-polar post-Bush world is another - he's making hay all over, saying "buy French if you want to be independent of America". Hardly the US friend he was painted as by conservatives, eh?
The US has no current and official nuclear weapons policy and Congress refuses to fun replacement warheads until it does, yet no-one in the race has said dick about it.
The Heritage Foundation and other neocon outlets are pushing for space-based interceptors as an expansion of the anti-missile shield, despite Russia warning if that happens all bets are off and the Chinese pushing for a comprehensive treaty ban on space weaponry. Again, no word from the campaigns.
Afghanistan? The Canadians just threatened to pull out if other NATO nations don't contribute more. Campaign soundbites - nil.
Germany? Merkel's party is in big trouble due to a backlash against their borderline-racist immigration pronouncements.
The UK? Cash-for-infuence corruption run rampant and a Blimpish populace more worried about Polish and Czech immigrants than Muslim ones despite all Steyn and his ilk's doom-mongering.
These and far more are all being ignored. Not even on the radar in the US media. Nothing from any of the campaigns even though all impinge directly on American national interests or have implications for the ways in which US politicians campaign.
This truly is the American Idol presidential race. The tears and tribulations of a bunch of talentless ambitious politicos, played as a reality TV show because not one of them, from either party, is worth voting for on their actual merits.
Update The HuffPo's reaction was pretty much like mine:
anchor Harry Smith, apparently lacking the wit or the wherewithal to pursue a more substantive line of questioning, took the opportunity to do a little whistling past the Kennedy family graveyard...Obama previously addressed the matter of personal security in an interview with Brian Williams in early January, saying, "I think that every presidential candidate, certainly every president these days-- is a potential target. And that comes with the job. And you take the precautions that are necessary and then you go about your business."So Obi-Wan himself has already said he's no more worried than any other candidate is (and probably less so than paranoid Rudy). "Lacking the wit or the wherewithal", heh, that pretty much describes most of the mainstream punditry corps.