Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ABCs Jake Tapper Does His Job
Kudos Galore Pour In

Today, ABC News Senior White House Correspondent, Jake Tapper, challenged Obama Press flak Robert Gibbs in the White House press room, on why the Obama White House felt entitled to claim, as they have over the past several days, that Fox News is not a legitimate news organization, and why other news organizations should thereby shun them.

The exchange was posted here on Jake's blog, Political Punch.
Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations "not a news organization" and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –


Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.

Tapper: But that's a pretty sweeping declaration that they are "not a news organization." How are they any different from, say –

Gibbs: ABC -

Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?

Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o'clock tonight. Or 5 o'clock this afternoon.

Tapper: I'm not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I'm talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a "news organization" -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?

Gibbs: That's our opinion.
In reading through many of the hundreds of comments in the thread following Jake's post, I was struck by the very large number of people who simply posted comments there thanking Jake Tapper for doing his job! I'd never read anything like it.

An instant outpouring of affection for a reporter? Think about it!

So, I decided to leave a comment.

Here it is:

Somehow, it all just seems so out of sync to read so many comments from people who are actually thanking Jake Tapper for doing his job! A reporter! People hate reporters, don't they? I cannot recall another time when I saw or read anything quite like it. Of course, the internet age differs from the past, but still!

He really does not expect to be thanked, you know. Matter of fact, I'll even bet the kudos are a little bit embarrassing to him. I also suspect he would say that he simply knows no other way, that he is just doing his job.

Well . . . that's true.

Now, this is not the first time Jake Tapper has asked tough questions of the current occupant(s) of the White House. And there aren't a lot of reporters that do that these days.

There are very few.

Jake Tapper is historically one of a long line of journalists who have played an enormously important role in our republic, because what the good reporters and journalists do, is watch how people in charge handle their power. And they ask them questions, sometimes in a seemingly impertinent manner, about what they are doing and why. They challenge them, ask for documents as proof, and often come at them from several different angles. And they expose the screw ups.

Yet, it suddenly and almost instantaneously became a lost art with so many of the star-struck press minions, with the election of Barack Obama less than one year ago, like they chugged down some happy potion. Quite a few of them had consciously or subconsciously played an important role in actually promoting his candidacy. More than a few of them openly worshiped him. All many of them did was write breathless pap.

Remember back in June of this year, when the President of Newsweek actually said that Barack Obama was above America, even above the world -- he declared Obama was "sort of God?"

What the ?#$>$C. . . He should have been laughed out of town . . . or issued a bib, and sent off to the home!

I just hope there are a few reporters reading this thread -- the ones that still read, that is. And I hope they take something away from the fact that Jake Tapper has been thanked here repeatedly for doing his job. Maybe it will awaken something in them, some spark, some faint recollection of what their job is, and what this country is all about.

So what the heck, here goes -- not for nothing!

Hey Jake. Thanks man. There's nothing quite like watching a real pro at work. Good job!

Posted by: Trochilus October 20, 2009 at 10:21 PM

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

First the Prize! Then the Performance!

Brent Bozell's Media Research Center has captured (embedded below) what can only be termed a funny and revealing moment in mainstream media pomposity (ht, Rick Noyes NewsBusters, here.

After having intensely covered the President's first reaction to the then-breaking story of the surprise announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize award to Barack Obama -- who was in office all of 11 days when the nominations were closed -- Brian Williams preemptively and dismissively carps in anticipation at the blogosphere and the pundits, broadly tagging them as the comic elements of our civilization!

White House reporter Chuck Todd quickly concurs, of course, and takes one last stab at reiterating an Obama political point -- emphasizing the reality of the President's job.

Here's a transcript:
WILLIAMS: "Chuck Todd remains at the White House. Chuck, the way our society and civilization is set up now, um, it's almost as if we ... we're heading into a weekend now. The comic element of our society the blogosphere, pundits, the opinion-based economy in the United States will now just get a free shot and have at it for the next three days at least."

TODD: "They will. But you know, one other point the President himself touched on that we ought to, uh, we ought to point out is the fact that the reality of his job really sets in when he has another meeting of his war council to talk about Afghanistan."
Take a look:

Hey . . . remember all those times when folks like Brian Williams and Chuck Todd in the mainstream media stepped in to remind viewers of the reality of President Bush's job?

Yeah. Me neither. But then, the Nobel Peace Prize was not given to President Obama for actually doing anything. It was given to him by his cheerleaders on the Peace Prize Committee for what they hope he will do.

As reported in the Times (of London), the Norwegian Committee Chairman (the Peace Prize is entirely separate from the various Swedish Committee awards for substantive accomplishment in a variety of fields) made it clear that the award was not being given to Obama for anything he has done. Instead, it was given to politically underscore what they eagerly anticipate.
The award is also an example of what Nobel scholars call the growing aspirational trend of Nobel committees over the past three decades, by which awards are given not for what has been achieved but in support of the cause being fought for.

Thorbjørn Jagland, the committee chairman, made clear that this year’s prize fell in that category. "If you look at the history of the Peace Prize, we have on many occasions given it to try to enhance what many personalities were trying to do," he said. "It could be too late to respond three years from now."
In other words, they are merely shilling for Barack Obama's political agenda. In a way it is a twisted version of Lewis Carroll's delightful twisted royal logic from Alice In Wonderland. Said the King:
"First the sentence, then the verdict!"
And, in this instance, to paraphrase Carroll, Thorbjørn Jagland has essentially said, "First the prize, then the performance!"

But, as Brent Baker at Media Research Center points out, that didn't stop the other mainstream media clucks from breathlessly climbing all over one another last evening to emphasize the wonderfulness of the award to The One.

During the Friday evening, Brian Williams at NBC took one last stab at the critics, and called the prize,
"one of the last remaining towering honors on Earth."
No, he did not say tiring. He said towering.

Like the "towering honor" that Yasser Arafat somehow garnered?

Just read the official biography that the Nobel Committee itself has posted on their website, memorializing to some extent Arafat's life of terrorism, and including a quick subsequent summary description of his governing style, after having been elected the President of the Palestinian Authority in 1996, following the Oslo Accords of 1993! Their final paragraph in the bio, the man to whom they had awarded the Prize, included this understated but telling acknowledgement:
"Like other Arab regimes in the area, however, Arafat's governing style tended to be more dictatorial than democratic."

Never once did that man seriously try to break from a cycle of terror and murder, nor from the exploitation and sacrifice of, and not for, his people. That lasted a lifetime - except of course, once very briefly back in 1994 -- to go and receive the Nobel Peace Prize!

How "towering" of him . . . and tiring of them!

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