27 Jun
2010
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“Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?”

Mark Steyn is certainly a genius, and succinctly sums up the essential failure of the American media, and also difference between politically engaged conservatives and every single other significant stripe of American politician:

Referring to Richard Cohen’s June 22 piece President Obama’s enigmatic intellectualism in which Cohen writes “this, of course, is the Obama enigma: Who is this guy? What are his core beliefs?” Steyn writes in response, “Gee, if only your newspaper had thought to ask those fascinating questions oh, say, a month before the Iowa caucuses.”

As both parties can agree, the office of the Presidency can make many decisions you positively, utterly despise.  It’s important that this person meet a minimum level of expectations.

Vetting candidates for office is the social role our media is supposed to fill during elections.  Does candidate seem unqualified outright?  Does the candidate have enough experience?  Is the person prepared for such a demanding role?  The media – only the media – can be expected to do the investigating to make this clear to the public.  It should answer the public’s question, what’s his “biography?”

We are taught to trust and distrust.  We learn to trust our families, friends, loved ones.  We are forewarned that yes, sometimes people have bad intentions – kidnappers, for example.  Sometimes, the lines of trust are blurred, and this is when we experience anxiety, and occasionally anguish.  Such a relationship is insecure and wobbly.  Think of those  times spent analyzing someone’s motives with respect to you.

If there’s one time the media should be on especially high alert, it’s during a presidential election.  Because if a completely unqualified, naive, or inexperienced person gets the job, all of us suffer.  Cohen admitted that American media failed spectacularly in the 2008 president election.

“Trust, but verify.”  Ahem!  Haven’t some people said repeatedly that the press has a strong liberal bias?  Americans aren’t stupid, and the lack of trust in the old media beginning to show with the growing importance of independent reporting and blogging on the internet.

I believe it’s true that most people are uncomfortable with the idea of their government working against their own interests regularly, whether this be out of crude ignorance, bad intentions or both.  Conservatives, faulted for their alleged rhetorical hyperbole so often by the smug mainstream media, did a fine job pegging Barack Obama, and predicting his incompetent and foundering administration.

Maybe because, when it comes to picking a leader, we prefer substance over emotional – in the case of the left – or intellectual – in the case of some on the right who share snobbish/elitist/politically correct thoughts – connection?

Your thoughts?

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