CHICAGO, February 28, 2013— There is something rotten in Washington. It is the media. The rot of the journalist turned Obama Zombie is emanating from the head down. Make no mistake about it. There is a stench. It reeks. It’s putrid.
Putting a fancy piquant “spin” sauce on it does not change its fetidness.
From corporate suites of media owners to J-school graduates, the media is now what police officers call a “stinker”, the dead body that has been around for a while.
From experience I can tell you it is a singular distinct odor one never forgets and always recognizes on impact. And its waft can be smelled all the way here.
Prominent and eminent reporter Bob Woodward created this imbroglio when he claimed a member of Team Obama lofted a (veiled) threat at him. That team member is Gene Sperling, and what he emailed Woodward is that he, Woodward, would “regret” staking his claim about the goal posts being moved in reference the the sequester cuts.
Under the threat of criticism, the media immediately circled the wagons around the president and his team. David Plouffe tweeted remarks about Woodward being old. Lis Smith called him irrelevent.
The kindergarten kids must play their childish games.
Woodward is not alone in aggrevating the White House. Lanny Davis, a previous Washington Times columnist, also revealed his then Times editor, John Solomon, had received threats from Team Obama over columns critical of the administration.
Their access and credentials could be withdrawn, Solomon was warned.
But this apocalypse has been coming. Since President Obama’s election in 2008, the media has turned into the laziest. most unethical lap dogs in journalism history. They should change their name to the “Washington Cut and Paste Corps” or “Obama Propaganda Corps”.
Somewhere along the way those journalists forgot that the press is supposed to have an adversarial relationship with government. Journalists are supposed to be fearless and courageous in their objective reporting and ruthless in their pursuit of facts.
They are supposed to check and double check said facts. Question what they are hand fed, assume it needs to be vetted.They are supposed to ascertain the best version of the truth and put that version out to the masses.
They are not supposed to worship at the altar of anyone. They are not supposed to be press agents for the politicians they are supposed to question.
The media bonded with our “celebrity president” and his administration, and that has killed any and all objectivity. Lazy access journalism became the norm with everything the president says, does, or his minions hand out repeated, copied and pasted, almost verbatim.
Very little to nothing is checked, questioned, or scrutinized. Never criticized. Editing is merely to make the president and administration look better.
Seasoned professional journalists are afraid. They go along to get along. Reporters and editors fear losing access and their jobs. They work for quisling publishers who fear not getting content.
So everyone just cuts and pastes the administration’s version of the truth. They all happily get along while conning the American public.
Make no mistake. President Obama does not like or need the press. The press needs him. This president and his administration are their own press. They created a media empire in the White House. They are skilled and adept in manipulating social media and other forms of mass communication to get their message out the way they want it.
They, Gene Sperling, David Plouffe and Lis Smith and all the others that inhabit today’s West Wing, know one thing; the average American is gullible and will believe anything. If you need proof of that just look at whom they elect and reelect to public office and what they allow them to get away with.
We need to not forget that President Obama came out of the Chicago school of politics and is a skilled practitioner of the Chicago Way. His mentor, Emil Jones, was one of the most adept politicians in Chicago and the Illinois legislature.
One of the core tenets of the Chicago Way is winning at all costs. Winning elections. Winning legislative, judicial, and executive victories. Winning on issues, large and small. The ends will always justify the means. There is no right or wrong, truth, half-truth, or lies. There is only winning.
The President and his team will do whatever it takes to win at all costs. If it means destroying the normal course of doing things so be it. If it means turning the media into lap dogs begging for kibbles and treats, so be it.
If it means attacking and locking out any and all that dare question them, well, that’s just the Chicago Way. Get used to it.
When it comes to communication, mass communication, and public relations, Team Obama is arguably the best. It is the one, maybe the only, thing they do right. The media can either join the team or join the opposition, i.e., anyone who dares to question.
And any opposition will be questioned and destroyed.
Richard Nixon’s imperial presidency is now Barack Obama’s imperial presidency. Both treated the press with disdain and extreme caution. Both created “enemies and frenemies lists.
But this administration is more imperial, or to be precise, imperious.
The press is reduced to military boot camp enlistees. They will do what they are told or suffer dire consequences. They will follow orders. They will report what they are told to report, when they are told to report it, and in the way the administration wants it reported.
They do not have to like it. They just have to do it.
Real, professional courageous, and fearless journalists are turning over in their graves. Stomachs are turning in the ones still living. The reek and stench from the rotting carcass of journalism is making them ill.
Freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of the United States Constitution.
A free press guarantees there will be a watchdog over the machinations of politicians and bureaucrats. A free press ensures the masses will see what is being done on their behalf and to their detriment.
A free press is the sunshine that disinfects.
That free press is dead in America. Freedom of the Press is just moldy words on a piece of paper, just like journalistic ethics. Both are now laughable oxymorons.
Journalism has cheerfully, willingly, and obediently committed assisted suicide.
But it is the media alone responsible for the current state of iputrid decomposition. The owners, publishers, editors, and so-called reporters are mere zombies.
They are the mindless putrescent living dead walking in our midst. Zombie
journalism is the new norm.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association, Illinois Press Photographers Association, Online News Association, Chicago Headline Club, and the Society for Professional Journalists.