Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Joe Scarborough in a Lather

On MSNBC's Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough has been in a lather over the media's supposed "failure" and "bias" over the fact that the media sent people to Wasilla to pore over Sarah Palin's record and didn't send people to Chicago to check out Obama's links to Blagojevich or to check out Rahm Emmanuel's claim this summer that he and Obama ran Blagojevich's gubernatorial campaign, a claim from which he has since backed off of.

Which is just stupid. Here's why.

First: The media was already in Chicago all in a lather over Obama's links to William Ayers. Second, though Blagojevich was known to be under investigation at the time, then, as now, it was known that Obama's ties with Blagojevich were never very close. Third, whatever Rahm Emmanuel said in the summer wasn't going to draw as much attention as whatever Sarah Palin said when she became the VP candidate because Emmanuel wasn't on the goddamned ticket! Sure, now Emmanuel's claim seems significant, either because it indicates stronger ties to Blagojevich or because Emmanuel was exaggerating his and Obama's importance in that campaign (or, as Scarborough says, because Emmanuel was "lying.") And, because now we know Emmanuel is Obama's Chief of Staff pick, which, of course, we didn't know back then, and so, Emmanuel wasn't all that important back then.

If we give Scarborough that Emmanuel lied about his and Obama's role in Blagojevich's gubernatorial campaign, at the time Emmanuel said it, of course it didn't trigger as big a media frenzy as lies Sarah Palin told. Emmanuel wasn't on the ticket! So why would anyone care? Oooh, big story: Illinois Congressman with ties to Obama lies about him and Obama running the campaign of some Governor you've never heard of. Whoa! Hold onto your seat. That sure is as big a story as, oh, say, the Governor of Alaska, plucked from obscurity, put on the Republican ticket as the VP candidate, suddenly thrust into the spotlight, standing in front of a nationwide audience at the Republican National Convention and personally lying directly to the nation about how she said "no to that bridge to nowhere." Sure, it's just bias that caused the media to jump all over her history and career when she was under investigation for ethics violations at the time she was nominated and also started off lying about her record right off the freakin' bat but not to jump all over a lie made by a congressman who wasn't even on the Obama ticket that wasn't backed up by the Obama campaign and therefore had no real relevance to the campaign at all.

Sure. It's just bias. The media never spent any time poring over any of Obama's past and connections at all because he is a Democrat. They never spent any time on Reverend Wright or on William Ayers or his time as a kid in Indonesia and whether he was a Muslim and attended a madrasseh when he was a kid. Not at all, no. They let all that go because he was a Democrat. And they only sent people to Wasilla to look into Palin's record because she was a Republican and the media are biased and out to get her, not because she was obscure, not because no one knew who she was and so finding out was legitimate news, and certainly not because she'd only been on the national stage for five seconds and yet was already lying about her record and was already under an ethics investigation in Alaska. No, couldn't have been.

Because the only reason the media would treat one politician differently than another is party affiliation. The fact that one politician came onto the scene and immediately drew a bull's eye on herself has nothing to do with it. The fact that one politician immediately lost any possible benefit of the doubt she might have had with media or the general public by blatantly lying about her record in her first national appearance has nothing to do with it. The only possible explanation, according to Joe Scarborough, is bias.

Come on. The media went after Obama when they could and when there was a story. The media hounded Sarah Palin -- and, admittedly, they did hound her -- from almost the moment she stepped onto the national stage for one reason and one reason only: She gave them so much material to work with. She gave them story after story after story. There wouldn't have been a gaggle of reporters in Wasilla if she hadn't made it so obvious there was a gold mine of stories there.

But, what, exactly, would the story have been if the media had "gone to Chicago" to investigate Emmanuel's assertion about Blagojevich's campaign like Scarborough insists they should have done? They would have learned that, in fact, Obama and Emmanuel didn't really run Blagojevich's campaign. Woo! Big story. Wow. That'll light up the front page. Congressman lies to aggrandize himself. News at eleven. Where do you go with that?


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