The “Clinton Rules” of Journalism Are Now the Obama Rules
Image via Where’s My Jetpack?
It’s a good thing that Barack Obama continues to raise so much money for his presidential campaign, because he’ll need every dime of it to fight the two-front war that faces him — no, not against McCain and Hillary Clinton, but against McCain and the media.
Here, I’ll let Jake Tapper of ABC News today demonstrate what I mean:
Last August, I ran into Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, outside the Senate chamber in the Capitol. We chatted for a second. . . .
. . . As any close friend or family member can attest, I have an unusually keen sense of smell and immediately I smelled cigarette smoke on Obama. Frankly, he reeked of cigarettes.
Obama ran off before I could ask him if he’d just snuck a smoke, so I called his campaign.
They denied it. He’d quit months before, in February, they insisted. . . . But I knew what I’d smelled and I asked his campaign to double-check and to ask him if he’d had a cigarette.
They reported back that he had told them he hadn’t had a cigarette since he quit. . . .
Except…. last night on MSNBC’s Hardball, Obama admitted that his attempt to wean himself from the vile tobacco weed had not been entirely successful.
“I fell off the wagon a couple times during the course of it, and then was able to get back on," he said."But it is a struggle like everything else.”
Now I wonder about last August.
It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things — the war on Iraq, a major economic crisis — indeed, it’s miniscule. Hardly worth mentioning.
Except that I don’t like feeling that I wasn’t being dealt with honestly. And as much as citizens who are suspect of the media might scoff at such a notion, many of us consider ourselves to be your representatives to help make sure our leaders are telling us the truth, and leading the country down a path we’re confident is the right one. (Corny, I know.)
Leave aside the smoking — do you ever see such a tone of moral condescension when a journalist is writing about a Republican presidential candidate? That’s the kind of attitude that leads minor stories about cigarettes or bowling to be exaggerated into supposedly important revelations about a nominee’s character, while outright lies by the other guy can be ignored because he paints "Straight Talk" on the side of his bus.
Does anyone remember Tapper and his "many" colleagues standing up during the past eight years to object that our leaders weren’t telling us the truth? To say they weren’t confident our country was being led down the right path?
Glenn Greenwald’s new book couldn’t be any more timely, or necessary.