The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dûr he was, and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it, and he said: ‘I am the Mouth of Sauron.’
Victor Davis Hanson:
Journalists as Ring Wraiths
Today’s Washington journalists are like J. R. R. Tolkien’s ring wraiths, petty lords who wanted a few shiny golden Obama rings — only to end up as shrunken slaves to the One.
The Bob Woodward/Ron Fournier/Lanny Davis psychodrama is another small reminder that the Obama administration continues to assume that the press should be little more than a veritable Ministry of Truth. Its proper duty is to serve the White House and promote the progressive agenda of Barack Obama. Any were considered suspect who questioned whether those exalted ends should really be achieved by any means necessary — but they were so few and far between that it mattered little.
Woodward, Fournier, and Davis, in their surprise at the general paranoia of the Obama administration, must think that freelancing White House zealots are tarnishing the reputation of their president, who, given his own predilections, would otherwise not countenance such clumsy intimidation of journalists.
In the same way that the operatives of the Nixon White House once channeled the character of Richard Nixon, so too the Obama administration reflects the manner in which Barack Obama has always campaigned and viewed politics. His 2004 Senate run and two presidential campaigns all shared the same modus operandi of unleashing surrogates to tar opponents, bully critics, romance the mainstream media, and caricature the shrinking number of journalistic kulaks — all while deploring the politics of personal destruction.
The Woodward fiasco is different only in that a few liberals now feel that, given that Obama need not face election again, they should be allowed to salvage some journalistic integrity by mild cross-examination and pathetic eleventh-hour confessions of past White House pressure. Or, in the words of journalist Mark Halperin, writing of the Woodward affair, “It’s a little embarrassing none of the rest of us was as aggressive as he was.” Four years ago it was a little embarrassing; now it is only predictable.
Cannot Obama be somewhat magnanimous and give our modern-day Nazgûl a few face-saving measures after they have sold their souls on so many occasions when it counted? Of course not; emaciated wraiths remain wraiths. Dissent is equated with a sort of disloyalty among the supposedly kindred minds of fellow culture warriors. By questioning motives, they have earned justifiable rebuke — or worse.
The Ringwraiths were not just petty lords who wanted shiny baubles, they were kings who lusted for rings of power. The analogy still fits however, because today’s media lusts for the power (along with fame and fortune) that White House access brings.
But wait! There’s more!
When Amory Gutierrez from the Pleasanton Weekly wanted to do a puff piece on the Obamas’ helicopter, “Marine One,” the White House put out the welcome mat. After all, Pleasanton is a very upscale bedroom community attached to Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Democrats outnumber Republicans there more than two to one. Gutierrez, however, did not keep to the anticipated script. Her piece gushed over the helicopter flown by a Marine crew, but then went on to repeat what the Marines had told her. In nearly four years of flying the Obamas, Michelle Obama had never so much as verbally acknowledged the crew’s existence.
Intentional or not, the one line in the otherwise celebratory piece made the first lady look aloof and disdainful of the military — or as some people put it, just plain snooty. The White House moved decisively into damage-control mode.
Now, one might see this move as more than a bit of an overreaction. After all, the Pleasanton Weekly is not exactly the Washington Post. But, in many circles, Michelle Obama has a major image problem. There is her statement that she was not proud of her country that seems continually to follow her. Then, there were the vacations that were roundly criticized for masquerading as state visits. Consequently, this small weekly in an overwhelmingly Democratic district was being pressured to remove the line that further tarnished the first lady’s image.
Did the Marines not say this? Was the line inaccurate? Gina Channell-Allen, the president of the Pleasanton Weekly, never contested the veracity of the line. In justifying her yielding to the “request” from the White House to have it removed, she made an argument so torturous as to remind us that the First Amendment is too important to be left to journalists to defend.
Channell-Allen told readers that she had been asked by the White House to take out something that compromised the president’s security, and while she was doing this, taking out the other line was no big deal. In fact, Channell-Allen conflated the two requests as if one were part of the other. Here is how she put it: “They also mentioned taking out a line that could be misconstrued about the first lady. It wasn’t going to change lives or destroy administrations by leaving it in or taking it out. When you’ve just been asked to do something to keep the president of the United States from harm, taking a line out about something like that is not a question. Even journalists have to choose our battles.”
Asking the Office of the First Lady for a comment on why it was necessary to pressure a small weekly newspaper to edit its story, The Daily Caller received an email from Michelle Obama’s press secretary, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, that denied the office knew of the story or ever had interacted with the paper.
I’m not holding my breath waiting for the media to come to Jeebus. They already sold their souls. Obama owns them. They are damned for eternity.
“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” -Auric Goldfinger
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