Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Media Astonished No Controversy on Obama's Back to School Speech

All over the Internet this morning, you'll find an astonished media claiming that there is no outrage and controversy this year for Obama's back-to-school speech that will take place at 1 pm eastern:
"Last year everything was a big deal. It was a new president, it was a new era. It was a new and changed everything and so, you had all these initiatives and fresh ideas and everyone got excited and now it's a year later. We've slogged through a recession and health care and continuing wars and it's harder for things to break through the clutter," says Tobe Berkovitz an Associate Professor at Boston University's College of Communication. Fox
and at MSNBC:
Domenico Montanaro writes: One of the more frustrating things about covering politics is when stories most reasonable observers and journalists view as unreasonable, irrational, or not that newsworthy seem to take on a life of their own.
One such story was a year ago, when there was a partisan uproar over President Obama's planned address to schoolchildren.
As proof of what a silly story it was, of how phony it was, here we are a year later -- with the president and Democrats in even worse shape than they were a year ago -- and there's nary a peep about Obama's second address to schoolchildren to take place today at 1:00 pm ET in Philadelphia.
Why no controversy? Because the media didn't fan the flames this year. The media didn't buy into the lunacy this year. The lunatics are still out there raging against his speech.
What's different this year is the media recently boosted a lunatic to national prominence, and they're probably smarting over that reality. One would hope, anyway. But what probably happened is with a feast of controversies to spotlight, the media all but forgot to stir up controversy on this one.
It's strange that national media seem oblivious of their role in boosting the level of ignorance in this country. The media have been unable to stand back and reflect on whether something is actually news or whether they're being used as a tool. The media are strangely unable to recognize when people have ulterior motives. The media are all too willing to play into the hands of hucksters. Sarah Palin is a prime example. She plays the media like a fiddle and yet, the media don't even recognize that. Poll after poll shows that Americans aren't all that interested in her, but the media fascination with her keeps her in the spotlight.