They did it as much for themselves as for the president. It’s a great way to get attention, after all. And weekly news magazines desperately need attention these days.
But really. A halo?
Even by today’s lack of standards, Newsweek’s cover depicting Barack Obama with a rainbow-colored halo as the “first gay president” is an astonishing low in the annals of American journalism, and an alarming reminder of just how far the media will go to glorify and advance this man.
These news magazines have long had a nagging habit of trying to get so far out in front of the parade that they look hopelessly lost. But this – mimicking the 1990s referral to Bill Clinton as the “first black president” – will be hard to beat for its sheer fatuousness and naked adulation.
In a vacuum, it might be
written off as a mere publicity stunt masquerading as some sort of journalism. But Newsweek is not alone among the supposed “news” media in its attempt to influence this election.
The Washington Post recently ran a lengthy front-page story about an alleged bullying – a forced haircut – of a reportedly gay student by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney nearly 50 years ago in prep school.
So they’re drawing quite a contrast for this election: a halo vs. horns.
A relative of the alleged bullying victim, who has since died, told NBC that the Post’s portrayal was “factually incorrect.” But assuming even accurately retold 50-year-old youthful incidents are relevant in a 2012 election that will decide the fate of the country, commentator Judy Miller asks, rightly, “Where are the comparable pieces about Barack Obama’s missing background?”
The media are completely ignoring huge gaps in our knowledge of Barack Obama’s past, as Miller notes. In just a couple examples, she says, “Where is the law school period in New York? Where are the string of girlfriends that he now doesn’t want to talk about?”
Fact is, Obama recently had to admit that a “New York girlfriend” he wrote about in his memoir was actually not a real person, but a “composite.” So his autobiography contains a little fiction. No problem.
Can you imagine the media forgiving Romney for making stuff up about his past? Or for admitted non-isolated illegal drug use? Can you imagine the media showing no interest in large gaps in our knowledge of Mr. Romney?
Can you imagine the media deifying a Republican who, like Obama, has come out in favor of gay marriage but won’t lift a finger to further it? If he thinks gay marriage is the right thing, even a civil right, why won’t he fight for it? Thank goodness the Civil Rights leaders showed more commitment!
How do the media canonize someone this way? What has happened to this nation’s free press?
Well, other than the need for these magazines to shock – a Time cover just showed a full-blown preschooler breastfeeding – in this particular case there are two self-enabling phenomena at work: First, the insidious, documented, undeniable liberal bias in the legacy media. Second, the cult of personality that has been erected around Barack Obama like Greek columns.
That cultish devotion to the man, first seen in JFK and replayed for Mr. Clinton, and so suggestive of a dictator’s fawning following, is a pretty poor barometer for elections in a free republic. Rather than lick his boots, we instead might want to examine the man’s policies and leadership and how they are impacting America – and how they might continue to do so.
First, of course, check the halo at the door.