The Speech and the Love AffairSome in the press are already swooning over Hillary Clinton's speech to the Democratic National Convention last night, saying that she "delivered" and will "bring unity" to the fractured Democratic Party. The truth of the matter, of course, is that Hillary did what she had to do to insure the backing of the party brass for another White House bid in 2012-no more, and no less.
Expect President Clinton to do much the same in his address to the delegates tonight, and in doing so, he and his wife will further cement their status as the real leaders of the Democratic Party-the attempt here is to show that regardless of what happens in November, Democrats need the Clintons. There is also the issue of 2012-Hillary must look like a good soldier, but she has to be hoping that Barack Obama loses in the fall. She wouldn't be able to defeat an incumbent in the Democratic primaries in four years, and by 2016, her political time may very well have passed. Four years from now could be the last shot Hillary Clinton has at the White House.
Meanwhile, the press' love affair with Barack Obama continues, as John Fund said in The Wall Street Journal's Political Diary e-mail from yesterday:
Following Michelle Obama's speech praising her husband, Mr. Olbermann simply said, "Ye-a-h-h-h. Case closed." Mr. Matthews responded with a guttural "uh-h-h-h." Taking that as a cue to continue, Mr. Olbermann, declared: "That could not have done better from them," then repeated the phrase and praised the evening as "terrific." He noted: "There were tears throughout [the hall] among the women." Finally, in the middle of his rhetorical power dive, he pulled up: "There was just a -- I know, I'm beginning to sound borderline sycophantic on this. So I'll stop."
The conduct of the press-especially NBC News and its cable and internet affiliates-has been biased in a way that is incredibly unprofessional. It has often been said that conservatives and Republicans complain about media bias all the time, to the point where these cries of unfairness become like The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Though I often believe there is genuine truth to the accusation that the mainstream press has a built-in bias against conservatives, I also think we must be careful when blaming that bias for negative public perceptions.
However, in this case, NBC and MSNBC have become so enamored with Barack Obama that it is clear that they are attempting to use their media voice to directly influence the outcome of the General Election. As I have written here before, using the power of the press to influence an election goes with the territory of a free press. Newspapers have been trying to directly impact electoral outcomes in this country since the 1790's-and in the days of yore there was no pretence of journalistic objectivity, authors used newsprint to let 'er rip on their political opponents.
If this is what MSNBC is attempting to do for the Obama campaign, they are well within their constitutional rights. If anyone at Rockefeller Plaza cares about their personal and professional integrity, however, they will at least publicly admit that the network favors Obama, so that we know precisely where they are coming from.