The things you don't read about Barack Obama
Will Rogers famously pleaded that all he knew was what he read in the papers. If all a person knew of Barack Obama's first 100 days as president was what they read of them in this newspaper, it would seem to be a very charmed young presidency.
The Chronicle Herald recently made space for an urgent Associated Press dispatch from Washington informing readers the Obamas had chosen a Portuguese water dog. Not original reporting, of course, but an AP rephrasing of a White House-arranged scoop in the Washington Post online.
That was followed by a crack Canadian Press report, drawn from such gumshoe news-gathering as reading the Huffington Post, on the "hillbilly" Republican governor of Alaska: her "family and political theatrics that would do Jerry Springer proud," like "the arrest and indictment of her sister-in-law on break-and-enter charges" and "the sordid revelations of her daughter's ex-boyfriend."
The Portuguese water dog and Alaskan "hillbillies" news beats apparently leave little time for anything remotely skeptical of the president of the United States. And they wonder why folks aren't buying the papers like they used to.
So here is a small selection of news on the most powerful man on Earth which has been deemed unfit to print:
- Obama's first two major bills alone, the "stimulus" and "omnibus," cost nearly twice as much as was spent on Iraq over six years - $1.2 trillion vs. $650 billion.
- Obama abandoned his campaign promise of "a net spending cut," his first annual deficit - not counting bailouts - being three times the worst deficit under President George W. Bush.
- Obama's objective in his first G20 summit - commitments to spend our way to prosperity with massive stimulus boondoggles across the G20 - was rejected out of hand.
- Obama's objective in his first NATO summit - commitments to combat troops for Afghanistan from "our European allies," which Obama and his party imagined were ready and willing to fight if only someone "enlightened" like him were running things - was predictably refused, with some more European non-combat contingents offered as a token.
- Obama's Defence Department announced cuts of $1.4 billion to missile defence, the day after North Korea test-fired its long-range, multi-stage ballistic missile.
- Obama's economics were criticized by Warren Buffet, whose endorsement had been candidate Obama's highest economic credential.
- Obama reversed the free trade Bush policy that had allowed about 100 Mexican tractor-trailers into the United States, which the Mexican government immediately used as an excuse to levy tariffs on 90 American goods amounting to $2.4 billion in U.S. exports.
- Obama's "tax cuts for 95 per cent" turned out to mean $13 a week from June to December, to be clawed back to $8 a week in January - as compared with President Bush's 2008 tax rebates of $600 to $1,200 plus $300 per child, which were notably scoffed at during the election campaign by Michelle Obama.
- Obama's campaign promise of a $3,000-per-employee tax credit for businesses that hired new workers - repeated ad nauseam for weeks before the election - was discreetly retired even before inauguration day.
- Obama abandoned his campaign promise that "lobbyists won't work in my White House," waiving his no-lobbyist executive order or conveniently re-defining his appointees' past lobbying work to allow 30 lobbyists into his administration.
- Obama abandoned his campaign promise to reform earmarks, signing the omnibus bill which contained 8,816 of them.
- Obama took more money from AIG than any other politician in 2008 - over $100,000 - and signed into law the provision guaranteeing the AIG bonuses which later had him in front of the cameras "shaking with outrage" and siccing the pitchfork crowd on law-abiding citizens who had fulfilled their end of a contract and had their payment upheld by Obama's own legislation.
Why should these points, and many more like them, have to be made by some obscure contributor to The Chronicle Herald's opinion pages?
Fox News Channel is the butt of jokes and the target of attacks like no other media outlet in the English-speaking world, not least by people who fancy themselves the guardians of a free press. But Fox News is today the lone television news service in the English-speaking world capable of serious skepticism and scrutiny of the sitting president and the Congress of the United States.
Fox News is also the second most-watched channel in all American cable television. It long ago became by far the most-watched cable news channel; more Americans watched Fox News than CNN and MSNBC combined in every time slot from 6 a.m. to midnight in April. Now, while The New York Times is $1.3 billion in debt, Fox has expanded its operations with a business channel and a juggernaut Internet presence.
There's a lesson there, though Fox News will be just as well pleased if the impeccably "mainstream" news business remains clueless about it.
The people need a Fourth Estate, not yet another adulator of Barack Obama, yet another smearer of Sarah Palin, yet another patrician editor to keep out anything disagreeable to progressive sensibilities, yet another laptop-and-latte journalism-schooler to spit on everything pre-dating 1968. And they wonder why the news business has come on hard times.
3 comments about Obama - worse than Bush
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