"The narrative WILL be maintained…" -UPDATE

A terrific spiel by Bill Whittle – a nice history lesson and forbidden logic to boot. It’s 13 minutes long. Don’t miss it.

Don’t miss this: Another example of how narratives are maintained. But you know that’s one of my pet peeves, right – how the press reports on presidents with differing letters after their names?

Although I don’t hear “the recession is over”, anymore. Do you?

I don’t know how we’re supposed to believe in anything, trust anything or have faith in anything the government is doing when the press cannot be counted on to question them, hold them accountable or even, you know…make them the teensiest bit uncomfortable. I’d rather see a president put-upon, as Bush was, by a press that chastised him for daring to vacation (both in good times and in bad) and disbelieved everything, than see a president served softballs and hosannas, which can never be healthy, unless you’re a messiah. And even for Messiah, the hosanna’s eventually stopped. For Obama, they go on and on.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://templeofmut.wordpress.com/ Mutnodjmet

    I saw the Bill Whittle piece, too. It was outstanding, and a part of history I did not know. Whittle is OUTSTANDING on PJTV, and this piece on the Political Correctness and its origin with much meaning in today’s discourse, is his best…well, right after the one in which he compares Mo Dowd to Star Trek’s Nurse Chapel.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Another installment in the endless tirade against press bias. If you and your cohorts would come off your high horse and actually study Obama’s approach to the press, you would learn a little something that your candidates badly need to know, and have forgotten since the first term of the Reagan Administration.

    The press have every professional reason to be positive about Obama. He gives them news to report. Let’s set that apart for a moment.

    He gives them news to report.

    He has taken control of the news cycle in the only way that you can–by feeding it. This means three things. First, he can largely control his own image by feeding the press news that portrays him in a favorable light either as a leader or a person.

    Second, he and his staff have to consciously work very hard at this because news that is not so favorable to him will also occur on its own. And they also have to absolutely avoid the “damage control” mentality–they are there to make news, not to respond to it. In the high speed news cycle, “damage” largely controls itself.

    Third, since the cycle puts the reporter under constant deadline pressure, having news all ready for him will make sure he meets his deadlines, and if you give him enough of it, the news cycle is so fast that he won’t have time to dig up any more.

    Your candidates “punish” the press when they report unflattering news by shutting off access and circling up the wagons. And the reason they do it is the “narrative” amongst you of “liberal press bias” for which the press must be punished one way or another.

    Even if the narrative is true, cutting off access and circling the wagons is precisely the wrong response. The reporters are there to report news and trying to starve them out simply won’t work.

    There is always news to be found, and if you make the press dig for it on its own, much of it will be unflattering, and you will absolutely and forever lose control of your own image.

    Reporters are there to report the news and if you consistently give them news they won’t be trying that hard to find it elsewhere. They don’t have time.

    The key is how you respond to bad news. Obama learned the secret on the campaign trail by weathering the Reverend Wright flap and the “lipstick on a pig” flap.

    The secret is simple: stay cool and don’t panic. If you do not feed a news story with significantly new facts, it will wash very quickly out of the cycle on it’s own. If you are cool and collected about it you will have, at the very most, 3 embarassing weeks and usually only one.

    If you then have news ready to replace the bad stuff, the cycle will come back under your control.

    Your candidates do precisely the opposite of this. They react with “damage control” which feeds the story. Then when the story doesn’t go away [and it won't when you feed it] , they circle the wagons and shut down access [which itself is highly interesting news that will keep the story alive], and when that doesn’t make the story go away, they start making up an “enemies lists” of members of the press. This then leaks out and the unflattering story now has the “legs” of a professional stilt walker.

    Obama is very likely to get some version or other of his health care package. And one of the reasons is that he has stayed cool and collected in the face of all of the discourteous nonsense of the so called “town meetings”. These are already falling by the wayside because there are no new facts to report about them.

    And, just like in tennis, your second serve will have far less power and Obama will volley it back to you easily. He’s already established beginning of a news pattern to do it. Your friend Ed Morrisey quoted one of the pieces of it without the least understanding of it’s significance.

    What is that? Obama and his people know that a Presidential vacation is not a vacation from feeding the press news. Old King George never troubled his head about such things.

    [I think it's beneath you to call President Bush "King George" particularly when it is Obama (and never Bush) saying things like "the time for talk is over," and "I don't want them doing a lot of talking" - and I also think you're deluding yourself if you think Obama is a "friend" to the press. In the past few weeks he's taken to blaming them for pushing "false deadlines" and for hurting his sale of health care. And it is Obama who has had his SS men take cameras and phones away from people while Michelle and the girls were enjoying a hamburger - it's Obama who is on Martha's Vineyard telling the press they're not to to text about him or take pictures of him or they'll be thrown out of the press poll. You're suggesting that Bush never gave the press news? You're suggesting that Bush ever tried to silence the press? Give me a damn break, Joseph. Look at the examples given. Bush had 4.5% unemployment and the press huffed "how dare he go on vacation to his greener than Gore's stupid ranch house and cut brush." Obama has spent us into oblivion, unemployment is nearly 10% and they gush, "oh, look, he's going to the Vineyard...he's so wonderful!" Obama has continued all of the Bush policies which were supposed to have "damanged us in the eyes of the world" and yet oh, look here: Bush is the still the bad guy on those issues, not the current president who keeps his policies intact. You can say all you want, Joseph, but the "supposed" bias of the press is quite real. You simply prefer not to see it, because it is a bias that agrees with your worldview. -admin]

  • newton

    Yep, Whittle is THAT good. Even my husband, no fan of blogs or anything like this, sits down and watches every single Afterburner I have watched. Yep – we watch them together. And he likes it, too. He was hooked after he watched the one putting that “Comedy” Central loser on a one-way course to an apology for daring to say that Harry Truman was a “war criminal.”

    Oh boy! That guy is that good, someone sent an e-mail to Professor Reynolds recently asking probably the two questions a good chunk of Bill’s watchers/readers may be asking. 1. Is he running for President? and 2. Is he single?

    And of course, the good Prof answered back. 1. Not that we know of, but you might ask him about it. 2. Yes, he is single.

    (Happened a couple of weeks ago. No interest in the guy, just an interesting note.)

  • Joe DeVet

    Did you notice that we have here an Affirmative Action Presidency?

    Do this little thought experiment. There were probably 20 white Democrat Senators who were equally smart and articulate, with qualifications equal to or better than Obama’s. But what would have happened had they run against Hillary in the primaries? Crushed! Obama had one thing they did not have–a black father. Made all the difference.

    It goes to show (once again!) how toxic affirmative action is.

  • Gayle Miller

    As far as I’m concerned, the most patriotic thing our current president can do is stay on vacation for the next 18 months, or until such time as we can elect a Congress that is more responsible and less offensive. I don’t know about all y’all but I am highly offended by a Speaker of the House who calls me a Nazi because I’m exercising my First Amendment rights. Considering that she is way MORE than old enough to remember the evils perpetrated by the real thing, she should really choose her words more carefully.

  • Gayle Miller

    If George W. Bush discovered a cure for cancer, he would be criticized for it! If Herr Obama removed a splinter from someone’s thumb, he’d receive the Nobel Prize.

    The perception has always been that George W. Bush is somehow “less” – when in point of fact, he is way more than anyone was ever willing to give him credit for. He’s a great and good man and was ill-used and abused by an antagonistic press corps throughout his 8 year term in office. The only people that really appreciated him are the people who voted for him – twice. And that’s what drives the left nuts – that the American people voted for him and elected him to the office two times. The left thinks they are so much smarter than we are. Hate to burst their bubble but it isn’t so.

  • MissJean

    Joseph, the role of the press in the US is NOT to take “gifts” of news from the President. That reduces journalism to little more than a propaganda wing. The duty of a journalist is to take any given news with a grain of salt and dig up his own news.

    I agree with your assessment of reporters being fed the news. And it certainly is easier to take the gift that keeps on giving, instead of digging. And fewer editors are willing to “shit where we eat” and risk losing easy access to politicians, especially in areas with stiff competition between media outlets.

    However, I disagree with your assessment that the President is learnéd about being cool and calculated with the press. What other sitting president has denounced people in the media by name? And the President’s official spokesman seems to have been influenced by the “Gary Hart Guide to Dealing With the Press”, making them WANT to dig up dirt.

    The other problem is that the don’t-engage tactic that some representatives used to deal with Tea Parties very well may haunt them. You rightly noted that Tea Parties as such seemed to have petered out.

    Here’s why: Some of the Partiers have changed tactics. For example, my metro area has an upcoming “health care issues” meeting to which politicians, health care providers, insurance representatives, etc. are being invited. My local paper had several stories about it, including warnings from the organizers that people shouldn’t bring signs or behave in a disruptive manner. It’s a conference, not a townhall meeting.

    Dems like Debbie Stabenow haven’t accepted the invitation, but Republicans and some “Blue Dogs” have. The silent treatment worked well in the past, but it appears that the Blue Dogs and the Republicans are using this as an opportunity to push their own health care reform ideas.

  • Charlotte

    Right on, Gayle!

    I voted for him twice and I am proud of it. I would have wished that he was more fiscally conservative and I didn’t agree with everything he did, but he kept us safe after 9/11 and I believe that was his main job.

    The press doesn’t question President Obama because they don’t want to know. They believe, I think, that everything he does is wonderful and if they question him, why….they are the racists!!!

    It is rather amazing at the very same time it is disgusting. The internet is making newspapers and reporters, for the most part, irrelavant. Gee, wish that could happen sooner.

  • NanB

    Has anyone taken a good long look at Illinois’ track record for governors and politicians?
    Ironically msnbc has a piece on it!!!!!!

  • cathyf

    Well, Nan, in other states when they build a prison and slap a politician’s name on it, it’s because the politician “brought home the bacon” bringing the prison and its jobs to the local community. But here in Illinois we always just assume that they name the prisons after the politicians who serve time there!

  • NanB

    Well said Cathyf!!!

  • dry valleys

    Pandagon on about “scholarly” Jonah Goldberg (& his pals).

  • John Bey

    Bill Whittle seems hateful and quite spiteful in his ranting rhetoric. He’d be good on the Glen Beck show though, I don’t think that Fox would appreciate some of his quotes. They probably would get him into deep trouble with the network censors. I would hope that people can act civilized, not denigratory. Hate only breeds more hate and it seems that the author of this blog has made a fine job of that.

  • CV

    Joseph Marshall–

    You would make a fabulous flack and a terrible editor.

    Of course Obama is aiming to control the news cycle by giving reporters a steady flow of news that is favorable to him, and by dumping bad news (such as the extra couple of trillion dollars by which they underestimated the deficit) late on a Friday afternoon in August.

    This is called PR.

    It’s the job of the reporters and editors to resist being “managed” by the WH press operation and ask hard questions that many American people are asking. Such as those who show up at town hall meetings because they can’t understand (and fear the worst) re: the million hidden details in a 1,000 page health care bill that is being rushed through in record time.

    Instead, what we get is a New York Times reporter in a televised presidential press conference asking such questions as “what has ENCHANTED you the most since your inauguration?” I guess this guy couldn’t think of a single thing to ask regarding the gargantuan stimulus, the energy bill, or health care.

    Yes, the WH press office is doing it’s job to control the news cycle. It’s the press’ job to push back against that, something they were very happy to do during the previous administration. Now the only reporters who seem to be doing any heavy lifting at all are folks like Jake Tapper at ABC and Fox news.

    Don’t you wonder why Fox is killing MSNBC in the ratings? People are starved for answers to basic questions, that’s why.

  • CV

    Dry Valleys–

    If you’re going to include links in order to reinforce an argument about Jonah Goldberg’s lack of “scholarship” or (whatever your point happens to be) you might want to avoid blogs that are laden with four-letter-words and Pamela Anderson pictures.

    Just sayin.

  • dry valleys

    My point is to rag on the likes of Wilkinson & Goldberg, who might serve up what they say in a more genteel & discreet way than I do, but who are essentially talking complete bilge.

    I happen to quite like swearing when deployed in the right way, if there’s something behind it, which I like to think there is in the links I give. Yes, some people just mindlessly bloviate but I think you’re missing out if you piously switch off when someone does something that wouldn’t go down well at a finishing school. Some people’s style is just like that.

    I would definitely say that Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Beck etc. are basically personae, hiding very intelligent people behind those masks designed for maximum effect, but in all those cases I dislike what they say. Yet the personae used by some on the left I find both funny & ultimately informative & thought-provoking.

    Some things deserve nothing but ridicule. You wouldn’t write an essay on 9/11 truthers, you’d just say they were talking toss. So it is in cases like this.

  • Miss Marple

    John Bey, exactly what is hateful in Bill Whittle’s speech? As far as I am concerned, it was pretty mild, especially compared to someone like Chris Matthews.

    I found it interesting. I always wondered why there seemed to be a plethora of leftist groups attacking every aspect of society. Now I have a better understanding.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    CV, I have to agree—Manda/Panda’s foul language and downright demented style (and, sometimes, subject matter) don’t convince, when she sets out to supposedly demolish somebody else’s lack of scholarship.

  • Joe

    Dear “A”

    Richard Wilbur is our greatest living poet

    The following poem by the great Richard Wilbur appears in the August issue of the New Yorker:

    “A Reckoning”
    by Richard Wilbur


  • Bender

    I would have wished that he was more fiscally conservative and I didn’t agree with everything he did

    Then again, Bush was limited in what he could do, seeing how he was stuck with a squishy, spend-like-crazy Republican Congress for much of the time, filled with, not only moderates who looked for and took every opportunity they could to stab conservatives in the back, and Bush had to spend much of his time appeasing a Maverick who despised him and sought to undermine and sabotage him.

    And then, when that Republican Congress destroyed all public confidence in the Republican Party, Bush had to deal with a Democrat Congress.

    And, in the end, felt that he had to listen to the “experts” who all told him that TARP had to be passed or else the economy would crash and burn.

    He did as well as he could with the hand he was dealt. If the Bush Presidency did not enact as many conservative initiatives as one might have hoped, blame McCain and Graham and Specter and Snowe and Collins and Hagel and Warner and Voinovich and Ridge and Whitman and countless other big-tent disasters.

  • dry valleys

    Yes, & in a similar manner Obama is limited, faced with a fairly herculean task of satisfying various people in & out of congress.

    Believe it or not, most people on the left, the moderate left, the centre & even conservatives, who voted for Obama, knew they weren’t electing the Messiah, just someone who at the very worst was better than the other guy.

    Do you seriously think liberals expected the earth & are going to run home in tears to our mothers now a few stumbling blocks have been hit?

    Firstly, the whole American political system was set up so a politician couldn’t force his agenda through, & rightly so, when you look at what damage British prime ministers can do with a subservient parliament & an arrogant attitude.

    Secondly, Obama, just like Palin, is a politician. Most people knew they were electing a politician who would be limited in what he could do, but within his constraints still has the potential to be inspirational, which I think he can. I am not “disappointed” because I never expected him to make the sun shine & take all my cares away in the first place.

    Look at how many supporters Clinton had amassed within six years of what seemed at first like a car crash- are they all to be sneered at? Was every last one of them an academic Marxist?

  • dry valleys

    BTW, who is it that’s “forbidding” Bill Whittle? Seems to me like his Regnery & Fox “News” pals are operating quite freely & making a fair bit of $$$ out of it.

    [So, where have you been these last few weeks? ;-) -admin]

  • dry valleys

    Not sure what you mean- I’ve been in Great Britain, where I usually am, though I did go on holiday at exact same time as you- on about this

    I did finish all them books- re-reading my Aldous Huxley & Richard Dawkins in preparation for the new Dawkins coming out.

    I wonder if my reading attainments match Obama’s- description here of his schedule.

    Maybe I’ve been around here too long because I actually noticed the little sneer at Bush which would probably have passed me by had I not read your constant criticisms of the way the press deal with him!

    Someone should ask him when he comes back whether he lived up to the task :D

  • http://www.erud-awakening.blogspot.com Gina

    Anchoress, liberals are still saying that the recession is over, the stimulus has worked, etc. Party love is blind.

  • Sabba Hillel

    I find your reference to the term “Messiah” interesting as it brings me back to the original meaning. The Hebrew word “Moshiach” which is the actual transliteration that means “anointed one” refers to a human being who has been appointed to a high office. Thus, the priests in the desert were anointed, the kings of Israel, such as Saul, David, and Solomon were anointed, Daniel refers to Cyrus as “anointed”. The kings of Israel were anointed whenever there was a problem with the inheritance. For example, Solomon was anointed because the prophet had to ensure that his brothers realized that he would inherit the throne. When a son took over for his father without any problem (like most of the descendants of king David), he did not need to be anointed.

    In the current usage of the term, the English term has been misused to imply that the one known as “The Messiah” will actual be divine and immune from all dissent and criticism. This is not true. Anyone who rises to high office can be considered as “a messiah” in the original meaning of the term and must regard himself as subject to a great level of responsibility and expect criticism for the slightest flaw.

    The talmud says that G-d would scrutinize the pious ones “like the width of a hair”. That means that a flaw that would be considered nothing (or even a positive trait) for normal people like ourselves would merit criticism of the great ones.

    In fact, if someone is to be regarded as “messiah” then he must be scrutinized at a much greater level than most people. It is because he is attempted to rise to the heights and must therefore keep away from teh slightest flaw.

  • Margo

    John Bey just proved Bill Whittle’s point. Whittle’s piece was not a rant but a well researched and thoughtful lesson in history. Guess it just didn’t fit Bey’s narrative.