A very good article by Jon Friedman at Marketwatch points out that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) certainly has nothing to complain about his treatment by the media, even though the Senator and presidential candidate has seen fit to do exactly that. Friedman writes,
It seems that the Illinois Democrat has a problem, though. Politico.com, the impressive new political-news site, ran this headline Feb. 12: "Obama Casts Peevish Eye on National Media."
The story behind the story is this, as Friedman notes:
Ben Smith’s story on the Politico site began this way: Obama "used his first news conference after announcing his run for president to accuse the media of ignoring his substantive record and falsely depicting him as a lightweight."It quoted Obama as saying: "The problem is that that’s not what you guys have been reporting on. You’ve been reporting on how I look in a swimsuit."
Friedman correctly observes that this seems a strange complaint from a man who has received such fawning, unconditional admiration from the mainstream U.S. media:
Taken at face value, this astounds me. I can’t remember the last time journalists gave a White House candidate such a supersonic push to enable him or her to capture the public’s imagination.I’m not alone, either."Not since John F. Kennedy has a junior senator so quickly become a national celebrity and a possible candidate for the White House," the Washington Post said in a review last Oct. 22 of Obama’s runaway best seller, "The Audacity of Hope." (Obama declared his candidacy on Feb. 10.)But now, Obama is grousing. Talk about audacity! Sometimes the media just can’t win — and the public wonders why we seem so cynical at times.Journalists have widely hailed Obama for his intellect, vitality and charisma. Incredibly, in only a few months, Obama, a U.S. senator for a mere 25 months, has become a legitimate presidential candidate. By comparison, it took New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, his main rival for the Democratic nomination and the former first lady, 15 years to accomplish the same feat.
And if we are to be fully honest, we haven’t heard a single word from Obama that inspires comparisons to the kind of wisdom, insight, and policy astuteness one sees in a Rudy Giuliani or even Hillary Clinton, though I intensely disagree with her views, let alone a Ronald Reagan or a Winston Churchill, two great leaders who were given brutal daily beatings by the media of their time.
If a Senator finds near-universal adulation to be annoyingly insufficient to his needs, how on earth can we expect him to lead a nation through a crisis?
Colorado Sen. Gary Hart should be a useful model for Obama to contemplate. He was a candidate whom the media intensely loved, but they turned on him when he showed feet of clay and blundered through a self-inflicted campaign crisis.
What is true of life in general is true in politics as well: charm and good looks will get you through the door, but if you can’t produce, you’ll be out on your ear eventually.
In time we’re going to see what Sen. Obama is really made of. His peevish reaction to near-universal adulation does not bode well for him.