Sunday, April 20, 2008

Secret symphony

Rick Moran argues that if we want to listen to Obama, then we have to open our ears to all the notes.

This disconnect became all too visible the last few days as left wing blogs supporting Obama were beside themselves over the efforts by ABC debate moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephenopolous to pull back the curtain and reveal Obama as the hypocrite he truly is. Their primary beef with ABC? The moderators asked questions the candidate didn’t want to answer and his supporters didn’t want to hear. As long as the press coverage limits itself to the “issues,” only the Obama on the stump will be highlighted. As long as the press reports on the incredible crowds, the adoring fans, the candidate’s rhetorical gifts (not “issues” in any sense of the word but hey! – no one ever accused the left of being consistent about anything), Obama’s Legions are satisfied.

The most valuable asset of the Obama campaign is not their control of the message, but of the medium. And it's interesting to speculate on how this works. My guess is that it works through a kind of "consensus" phenomenon that surfaces periodically in the media. A consensus about subjects as diverse as global warming, missile defense, Typhoon Katrina, Darfur, Iraq, Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, etc emerges through a little understood process and eventually becomes received wisdom in the press. From that point onward, any facts which don't fit the narrative are regarded as "fringe", however much merit they may intrinsically have. For example, take the recent campaign by the Iraqi government against Moqtada al-Sadr. The "consensus" is that Sadr won the encounter. The fact that Sadr is in hiding in Iraq, the JAM put to flight, and Basrah captured from Sadr's militias, not to mention a constant drumroll of takedowns of his men -- all of this cannot dislodge the "consensus".

From Obama's point of view the possession of this "consensus" is the single most important political asset that he has.

How does this mysterious annointment occur? My guess is that it is an emergent phenomenon which arises from the circumstance that MSM pundits all read each other's commentary. Because the opinion makers take in each other's intellectual laundry the stains simply move from garment to garment. Thus the "consensus" survives in mutated form in each stage of the process. For example, it is conceivable that George Stephanopoulos never heard of the connection between Obama and Bill Ayers until Sean Hannity told him about it. Some people will find this possibility too incredible to be true. But my own personal experience with "well informed" figures who I meet suggest that filtering plays at least as large a role as anything else in perpetuating the survival of myths. The famous "sophistication" of MSM pundits is just another way of describing a narrow provincialism.

In one sense Barack Obama doesn't represent "change" at all but its very opposite: the plat du jour of the same set of intellectual cooks we have had for decades. "We are the people we've been waiting for." Who's "we", kemo sabe?




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16 Comments:

Blogger Teresita said...

Wretchard: Their primary beef with ABC? The moderators asked questions the candidate didn’t want to answer and his supporters didn’t want to hear

Their secondary objection is that Obama found himself debating the efficacy of capital gains tax cuts with the moderator when he though he was there to debate economic plans with Clinton.

As long as the press coverage limits itself to the “issues,” only the Obama on the stump will be highlighted.

The first forty-five minutes of the debate was limited strictly to nit-picks about what Obama meant by "bitter", or his connections to this pastor, that lobbyist, etc, and Hillary was loving every minute of it. And in Philadelphia people are going to go into the polls and pull the lever for Obama to flush precisely this sort of "Gotcha" politics down the crapper.

4/20/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

Another pearl of wisdom akin to ...arresting all the terrorists?

Obama is nothing more than a hardcore leftist
or a quasi-Marxist to others

Otherwise, how does one explain his loyal support from Daily Kos, Huffington, and MoveOn?

Restricting "nit pick questions" is a methodology of framing the debate as expressed by George Lakoff.

Obama's collectivism is even at odds with his foreign policy advisor Brzezinski, who has written on the benefits of ...individualism...as a methodology of enhancing freedom and wealth generation.

4/20/2008 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

We've known for years that the big three TV networks feature exactly the same news stories with the same themes every single night. That's narrowing the focus down very very tightly on what is and what is not important in the world, and the fact that all three networks have historically agreed on the spin on the stories is also eyebrow-raising.

I have always thought it was because network employees self-select. They go to the same schools, they have the same IQs (low, if we are to believe movies and TV shows about network news), and like those in academia, they must have the same view-point to even be hired.

The other thing to be taken into consideration is the absolute need in our media to be loved, because if they're not loved then they lose viewers and readers and ultimately, their jobs. Thus, media drones will always always always keep their heads carefully down agreeing with the rest of the pack lest they be singled out and beheaded by unpopularity.

Woodward and Bernstein were an anomaly, and even then they had to have at least two and possibly three people agreeing with their story before they could run with it.

And that is *after* their bitter passed-over FBI Deep Throat fed them the crumb trail to what was going on.

BUT ... the most important thing is that the anointment Obama enjoys has been conducted by a thoroughly disenfranchised mainstream media. I have to wonder how many American voters even read the NY TImes any more, let alone believe it, and how many pay attention to what the media says or doesn't say about Obama. We know that somehow all the things he wishes would go back under the rug have not and that there is international discussion on his preacher of hate, his pro-black racism, his pro-Muslim politics, and his anti-gun / religion beliefs. And you just know that is NOT because MSM has been reporting on it, so I really think that Obama needs to be welcomed to the same Internet results as brought down Dan Rather, Eason Jordan and TNR's Iraq "diarist".

4/20/2008 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Buckets said...

Does anyone remember the Republican YouTube debate, where CNN selected "random" entries and played clips of their questions for the Repub candidates? It was very subtle, and I don't think people really noticed, but there was a definite anti-conservative slant to the questions, even to questions that appeared to be candidate-friendly softballs.

One questioner had an American flag hanging upside down and backwards behind him. Another questioner encouraged Ron Paul to run as a 3rd party candidate (innocuous enough until I learned that this questioner was a John Edwards activist; Paul running a 3rd party campaign takes away significant Republican votes in the general election). One kid had a Guy Fawkes mask on the shelf behind him - taken from the movie "V for Vendetta," and currently en vogue as an anti-Bush symbol.

At the time, I was astounded at the brazenness of CNN's bias, and wondered if anyone else noticed or even cared. God forbid the Dems face a little animosity in their debates... Unfair!!!

4/20/2008 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger RatBoy said...

It is indeed an unusual primary season on the Democratic side. Rules their national party put in place are actually causing them a major headache.

They're down to two candidates Hillary , who has never known the truth and never will and BH Obama, a JV Senator who avoids voting on issues to remain politically viable.

The press, losing readership by the thousands every month and much of the electronic media absolutely refuse to take a hard look at him.
This in the face of dealing with some very unsavory characters.

We are judged by the company we choose to keep. If you ride in the Honda Goldwing Club you're probably A-OK but if you ride with the Hell's Angels you're in a bad crowd.
It appears many Americans would rather not look under the rock to see the creepy crawlies but rather watch the smoove buttery Obama glide into the most important office in the world without outlining one position. This is not a good sign.

The campaign for the presidency will expose the creepy crawlies but will it change the opinion of those whose brains are stuck on stupid?

4/20/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger bogie wheel said...

Karl Zinsmeister of "The American Enterprise" was embedded with the 82nd AB during the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

He had some observations
on the mentality of a lot of the other journalists also embedded with the American military at that time:

Alas, many of the journalists observable in this war theater are bursting with knee-jerk suspicions and antagonisms for the warriors all around them. A significant number are whiny and appallingly soft. Most club together, passing far too much of their desert sojourn gossiping with fellow reporters, mocking military mores in snide jokes and wise-guy observations, chafing at the little disciplines required by the military’s life-and-death work, banding off as a group to watch DVDs on their computers in the evening, ganging separately in the mess hall during meals, rolling their eyes at each other when ideas like honor, sacrifice, or duty enter the conversation, and otherwise failing to take advantage of this unparalleled opportunity to enter deeply and perhaps sympathetically into the lives and minds of superlative fighting men.

Admittedly, this was a highly unusual situation for said journalists, who were in a foreign environment and to some extent could be expected to flock together.

On the other hand, the "flock together" phenomenon isn't just limited to behavior on embed assignments like this. It's how a lot of these same journalists, esp. at the upper levels, seem to go about their daily lives ... attending the same professional luncheons, policy forums, awards ceremonies; socializing at the same parties, dinners, arts events, etc.; sending kids to the same (private) schools, even getting to know one another's families quite well.

Again, the clubbing together is to be understood to the extent that they share a lot of professional interests. But the ideological interests, which seem to be present since j-school (a self-selecting group, as nahncee pointed out), only get reinforced when (a) you live in the big media cities for 45-50 weeks out of the year, (b) make a salary beyond that of most Americans, and (c) almost all your friends are your professional and economic peers.

That news organizations (and Hollywood, and academia) tend to be liberal echo chambers is not a revelation. What I guess might be a revelation, to some anyway, would be something like the Bill Ayers association being itself a revelation to people who supposedly are among the most well-informed of the American populace, if for no other reason than they get paid big bucks to be nosy about such things.

So the assumption that "they know this, but they're deliberately covering it up" might not always (or even frequently) be true. It might be that they really don't know. Which, in practical effect, is just as bad.

4/20/2008 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Ratboy: It appears many Americans would rather not look under the rock to see the creepy crawlies but rather watch the smoove buttery Obama glide into the most important office in the world without outlining one position. This is not a good sign.

Obama on abortion: Voted against banning partial birth abortion. (Oct 2007)

Obama on spending: Return to PayGo: compensate for all new spending. (Oct 2006)

Obama on gay rights: Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)

Obama on education: Voted YES on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education. (Mar 2005)

Obama on oil: Voted YES on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Mar 2005)

Obama on the environment: Voted YES on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations. (Sep 2005)

Obama on foreign policy: Willing to meet with Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Il & Hugo Chavez. (Nov 2007)

Obama on campaign finance: No "bundled" money from federal-registered lobbyists. (Aug 2007)

Obama on gun control: Ban semi-automatics, and more possession restrictions. (Jul 1998)

Obama on health-care: Believes health care is a right, not a privilege for the few. (Sep 2004)

Obama on homeland security: # Close Guantanamo and restore the right of habeas corpus. (Jun 2007)

Obama on immigration: Support granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. (Nov 2007)

Obama on labor: Voted YES on restricting employer interference in union organizing. (Jun 2007)

Obama on religion: Don't know if life beyond earth; focus on life here on earth. (Oct 2007)

Obama on social security: The wealthy should pay a bit more on the payroll tax. (Oct 2007)

4/20/2008 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger bogie wheel said...

Their secondary objection is that Obama found himself debating the efficacy of capital gains tax cuts with the moderator when he though he was there to debate economic plans with Clinton.

I would sympathize more with this objection if the moderator were "fighting Hillary's battles for her," ie, using his moderator's position to do the debating that Hillary would/should have done.

But let's face it, since you aren't going to get any significant debate between Hillary and Obama on this issue because they are both democratic socialists (and some would say that's being too kind), who else but the moderator is going to probe Obama in depth, on an issue which he himself has made a specific pledge (not raising taxes on those making under between $250-200K)?

Where is it written that moderators can never, ever be even politely confrontational? If the moderator role were strictly limited to rattling off questions and doing no follow-up or challenging, then it's stupid for the network to spend big bucks on Gibson and Steph when the same work could have been done much more cheaply by a panel of local Philly journalists.

The reason a network uses its top nightly news anchor and its top political analyst in a situation like this is precisely to lend the moderator's role authoritative weight. You need personalities who are generally recognized as being well-informed on the subjects under discussion, and not subject to being overly impressed, intimidated, or out-talked by either of the candidates.

In my experience, the most prickly, weird or downright rude questions tend to come not from journalists, but from voters in town-hall settings. (The "boxers or briefs" question posed to Bill Clinton in '92, or the "list your three biggest mistakes as president" question [ie, "I want to hear you apologize for the Iraq war"] posed to Bush in '04.) Which is an interesting dynamic in and of itself ... Perot's "peasants with pitchforks." But that is a whole other discussion.

4/20/2008 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

I think the MSM concord is much tighter than mere chance would allow. There are Democrat party ops who cn put the memes into the media bosses ears. There are private e-mail lists that update the spin for the ones who need to be spun. They have meetings to decide what to do next Here is an example.

The good news is that they are no better at running their own business than they are at running the Country's.

4/20/2008 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger bogie wheel said...

D'oh!

How could I have forgotten The Snowman?

Truly bizarro moment of American presidential debates.

4/20/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger section9 said...

The good thing about the American electorate is that, by and large and in the mass, they have good sense. If Obama starts coming across as a con man, they won't vote for him. They'll choose the Old Geezer.

Obama's problem is that he is starting to come across as a Con Man.

When you promise something that you can't deliver (say, quick time withdraw from Iraq), people start doing a double take and even the press, normally in your corner, starts asking uncomfortable questions.

As long as Obama controlled the narrative of what and what was not acceptable politics, he could gull the rubes into joining his Torchlight Parade past the Fuhrer's Balcony. Now, not so easy. People are starting to ask questions.

4/20/2008 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

The media echo chamber prevents Dems from realizing that their candidates are really, really bad until it's too late:

Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, and now Obama.

Who voted against the right to defend ones self in one's own home with a handgun. Who wants to ban all handguns. Who wants to ban all semi-auto rifles. Who is anti-gun for twenty years. Who hangs out with various terrorists and gives them money for 20 years.

4/20/2008 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger apex said...

Wretchard, what you describe over here is commonly known as "Zeigeist":

"Zeitgeist" refers to the ethos of a select group of people, that express a particular world view which is prevalent at a particular period of socio-cultural progression.

Zeitgeist is the experience of a dominant cultural climate that defines, particularly in Hegelian thinking, an era in the dialectical progression of a people or the world at large."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeitgeist


apex

4/20/2008 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Their secondary objection is that Obama found himself debating the efficacy of capital gains tax cuts with the moderator

Bravo Bogie Wheel. Let's continue: Obama wasn't at all 'debating' with the moderator, he was weaseling. And the moderator smoked something out of him, a little piece of the truth, that his principal approach to taxes is to use them as a club to beat the wealthy DESPITE the fact that the country would net less income. That's what has the Obamites in such an uproar. Part of his stealth program was exposed for a moment.

He'd no sooner have debated economic plans with Clinton than enlist in the Army. It's unlikely that he even has one, if he's as dumb and predatory as his gaffe proved him. Sure, he and Clinton could have proceeded with their competing 'give away more Federal resources than you' mantras [you mean taxpayer resources?], but if youse 'supporters' want that sort of flackery, go read the candidates' websites.

For one rare occasion, the moderators really did their jobs with Democratic candidates before them. Because, neither candidate has any sort of track record as the manager of an enterprise or as an executive - and executive is what they're running for. So, what's left? Character and integrity, that's what. Not Party loyalty, not glibidity, not lavish promises. And the moderators actually examined the narratives which the candidates had fed the previously-fawning media, and probed beyond the smokescreens. Nothing could have improved on that service to the public, and the brief glimpse behind the smokescreens served ALL of the public - not just Democrat partisans.

4/21/2008 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

Obama on abortion: Voted against banning partial birth abortion. (Oct 2007)
* That’s a vote for murder

Obama on gay rights: Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
* Good reason to vote NO on Obama

Obama on education: Voted YES on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education. (Mar 2005)
* The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to involve it’s self in education – that is a responsibility reserved to the states or to the people. Federal involvement in education is unconstitutional as it violates the tenth amendment of our Bill of Rights.

Obama on oil: Voted YES on banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Mar 2005)
* Another good reason to vote NO on Obama

Obama on foreign policy: Willing to meet with Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Il & Hugo Chavez. (Nov 2007)
* Another good reason to vote NO on Obama


Obama on gun control: Ban semi-automatics, and more possession restrictions. (Jul 1998)
* Mr. Obama proposes to violate the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution – that is a threat to American life and liberty

Obama on health-care: Believes health care is a right, not a privilege for the few. (Sep 2004)
* Healthcare is only a right for the mentally or physically disabled. The right to liberty (freedom to work, play and be creative) and pursuit of happiness (creative work and play its self) will provide the able-minded and able-bodied with the resources to provide for their healthcare. Mr. Obama is a Socialist or Communist or Collectivist of some sort.

Obama on homeland security: # Close Guantanamo and restore the right of habeas corpus. (Jun 2007)
* Another good reason to vote NO on Obama. Terrorists are not provided with the right of habeas corpus under the U.S. Constitution

Obama on immigration: Support granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. (Nov 2007)
* Obama proposes to place America in harm’s way. Terrorists will be relying on an open border. How many more than 300,000,000 citizens can be crammed into our borders without further damage to our air and water quality, and to quality of life its self?


Obama on religion: Don't know if life beyond earth; focus on life here on earth. (Oct 2007)
* I’ll just cling to my faith in God anyway, just like the framers of the Declaration of Independence

Obama on social security: The wealthy should pay a bit more on the payroll tax. (Oct 2007)
* Even the Biblical God only expects 10%, and if you also give equally to Caesar, that makes 20% maximum taxation of the people. And who gave Caesar the right to take God’s 10% in the first place?

And lastly, some more good reasons to vote NO on Obama by uncovering and turning up the volume on the Secret Symphony:

http://infidelsarecool.com/2008/04/20/why-obamas-circle-of-friends-matter/#comments

4/21/2008 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

I forget where I read it, and documentation is hard to track down, but the hidden truth is supposed to be that almost every news anchor person on American television came to television after serving in Democratic political campaigns. In other words, George Stephanopolos is one of many. Diane Sawyer is the exception who worked for Nixon, but she has said she didn't really support him.

I'd love to have a linkable reference to point to for this info. Maybe I'll try to put one together.

4/22/2008 12:15:00 PM  

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