August 9, 2008

Media Mostly MIA on Obama’s ‘America No Longer What It Once Was’ Downer Delivered to 7 Year-Old

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:20 am

This doesn’t qualify as any kind of surprise, but it should be noted nonetheless.

Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama gave a stunningly downbeat assessment of the nation’s overall situation in a response to a seven year-old girl who asked him why he is running for president. Obama’s media water-carriers have virtually ignored his very telling response, one that is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s gloomiest, malaise-based assessments of America during his awful presidency.

Here is a rundown of what happened from Ed Morrissey of Hot Air:

When presidential candidates answer questions from children about why they want the job, most will give an answer that uplifts the child and the candidate. Not Barack Obama. At a campaign stop in Elkhart, Indiana, a seven-year-old girl asked the Democrat why he wants to be President — and he told her that America has gone downhill (direct YouTube link is here):

“America is …, uh, is no longer, uh … what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, I don’t want that future for my children.”

An August 7-9 Google News search I did at 10 a.m. on [Obama "it once was"] (typed exactly as indicated within brackets) returned 30 results “with all duplicates included” (when I did the search, the results header indicated that there were “about 85,” but there were in fact only 30). Of those, 26 relate directly to Obama’s statement.

Of those 26 results, only four could arguably be construed as coming from major media original reporting:

  • One is an ABC Political Punch blog item from Jake Tapper that linked over to the YouTube after a brief description.
  • The second is a Fox News transcript from its Thursday evening “Hannity and Colmes” (H&C) program, where Mike Huckabee commented on what Obama said (“We saw a candidate who’s off the prompter. ….. This was a very, very serious tactical error, because it’s that kind of comment that does come back to haunt a candidate.”).
  • The third is at August 8′s US News’s Political Bulletin, where its final item of six refers to the H&C program.
  • The fourth, at Real Clear Politics, also references H&C.

Of the remainder:

  • Seven are from a group of California-based publications. An identical post by “Rational_Thinker” entitled “Barrack Obama Whiffs a pitch from a 7 year old girl” appears at each one.
  • Seven are from center-right blogs and online publications: The Hot Air entry above, Powerline, Townhall’s Hugh Hewitt, two at WorldNetDaily (here and here), Wizbang, Stop the ACLU.
  • Six are from Rush Limbaugh’s site (one of them is here; it will go behind Rush’s subscription wall on Thursday evening).
  • One is at a center-left blog, the The Carpetbagger Report, where proprietor Steve Benen describes the situation as a “manufactured controversy.”

That’s a total of 25. The one remaining item is from an Old Media source, but not from original reporting. It is an Atlanta Journal-Constitution “Thinking Right” blog post by Jim Wooten, who effectively tells Benen why he’s wrong:

Obama simply cannot stay on the “I love America” script, a threshold requirement. With him, it’s conditions and qualifiers, lawyered-up codicils to define precisely the America he embraces, lest his adoring acolytes on the Left think he includes all that Big Oil, God, guns and bigotry stuff, too. Middle America hears him and it jars. We don’t know what America he’s talking about, whether we and our values are in or out.

None of the above would include sites that are “only” blogs, meaning that they have not cleared Google News’s definition of a news source or have not applied to be considered as a Google News source. The NewsBusters version of this post will most likely appear in Google News shortly after it goes up.

My take: At least Jimmy Carter was “smart” enough to fool the voters with his toothy grin and pleasant countenance during most of the long 1976 campaign season. Obama, and for that matter his wife Michelle (“for the first time in my adult life, I’m proud to be an American”), have clearly not done so. They have turned “America has problems, and we can fix them,” which is of course a common theme and perfectly defensible, into “America as a nation has declined,” which is much harder to defend, and certainly harder for a fundamentally optimistic nation to swallow, especially when that message is delivered to a 7 year-old girl.

This explains why Old Media is giving Obama’s statement the near-silent treatment.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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UPDATE, Aug. 10: The NewsBusters post is visible at Goole News if you change the scope of the [Obama "it once was"] search to August 7-10 from August 7-9, even though this post clearly went up on August 9. I can’t explain why Google News doesn’t pick up the post as created on August 9 for search purposes, because it clearly was, no matter what US Time Zone is involved.

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3 Comments

  1. He probably should of given a fluff answer. Look, that answer to a adult is good. To a kid, why give a serious answer?

    Comment by will — August 9, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

  2. He explained it this way:
    “Recently on one of my campaign trips I was doing a question-and-answer session, and suddenly I received a question from a little girl—couldn’t have been over six or seven years old—standing in the very front row. I’d heard the question before but somehow in her asking it, she threw me a little bit. She said, why do you want to be president? Well, I tried to tell her about giving government back to the people; I tried to tell her about turning authority back to the states and local communities, and so forth; winding down the bureaucracy. [It] might have been an answer for adults, but I knew that it wasn’t what that little girl wanted, and I left very frustrated.”

    That was Ronald Reagan in 1976. And the title of his speech? “To Restore America.”

    http://reagan2020.us/speeches/To_Restore_America.asp

    Comment by Tony B. — August 9, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

  3. #2, ??!!??

    It’s one thing to give a kid an answer steeped in technicalities, it’s another to go depressive and “America is no longer what it once was” (with a strong implication that no matter what he does, he won’t be able to get it back to where it once was).

    And I like Reagan’s next paragraph:

    Well, maybe I can answer it now. I would like to go to Washington. I would like to be president, because I would like to see this country become once again a country where a little six-year old girl can grow up knowing the same freedom that I knew when I was six years old, growing up in America. If this is the America you want for yourself and your children; if you want to restore government not only of and for but by the people; to see the American spirit unleashed once again; to make this land a shining, golden hope God intended it to be, I’d like to hear from you. Write, or send a wire. I’d be proud to hear your thoughts and your ideas.

    You could argue that Reagan was implicitly making criticisms similar to Obama’s, but he didn’t think it was a permanent condition (and it wasn’t, thanks to him), and he had solutions and a positive outlook.

    Obama only has “I don’t want that for my children,” as if the best he can hope to do is to help us recover a bit from our alleged decline. He can’t or won’t paint us a picture of what his “shining, golden hope God intended it to be” will look like, because IMO he doesn’t really think the potential is there — or if it is, we don’t deserve to have it, because in his zero-sum world, if we have it, we must be denying it to the rest of the world.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 10, 2008 @ 7:31 am

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