Friday, June 20, 2008

The New Politics: When Money Calls, Obama Answers

In Media Notes (Washington Post) this morning, Howard Kurtz assesses the media’s coverage of Obama’s broken promise to forego the flood of money flowing his way from his online donors and accept public funding.

Kurtz points out:

“Liberals have been championing campaign finance reform since Richard Nixon's bagmen were walking around with suitcases of cash.

“It was Jimmy Carter, after his post-Watergate, I'll-never-lie-to-you campaign, who pushed through the first law attempting to curtail the role of big money in politics.

“So Barack Obama's decision yesterday to become the first presidential candidate of the modern era to opt out of public financing flies in the face of that tradition. It also happens to contradict his own past assurances. And it poses a real test for the media.”

Kurtz gets in an appropriate dig at Obama’s loudest online megaphone, the Huffington Post: “You will not be shocked to hear that while most conservative bloggers are ripping Obama for hypocrisy, most liberal bloggers are defending the move. Had President Bush done this in 2004, there would have been at least five postings up on the Huffington Post accusing him of trying to buy the election.”

But then if Obama is drowning in cash, I have to ask why his camp has been pressuring Hillary Clinton’s donors to cough up on his behalf since minutes after her concession speech. And get this: Obama and Clinton have scheduled an appearance together next week to address – you guessed it – Clinton donors.

Kurtz doesn’t answer the above question, but he provides a list of excellent examples showing how various news sources have chosen to play the story of Obama’s reversal on public funding. Kurtz concludes that the media in general will go light on the harbinger of the new politics for his obvious betrayal of the public trust. But then what else should we expect from a good old boys dominated press that has suffered from Obama intoxication since he first stepped on the national stage.

Read more here.

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