When an editor of one of the nation's most liberal newspapers is disgusted by the media's sycophantic adoration for President Obama, it's a metaphysical certitude the press's behavior has so deviated from anything close to journalism that the entire industry should be put in a time out.
With this in mind, the San Francisco Chronicle's Phil Bronstein wrote a piece Monday called "Love or Lust, Obama and the Fawning Press Need to Get a Room."
In it, Bronstein marvelously told inconvenient truths that should be required reading for all Americans especially his lovesick colleagues:
You can't blame powerful people for wanting to play the press to peddle self-perpetuating mythology. But you can blame the press, already suffocating under a massive pile of blame, guilt, heavy debt and sinking fortunes, for being played. Some of the time, it seems we're even enthusiastically jumping into the pond without even being pushed. Is there an actual limit to the number of instances you can be the cover of Newsweek?
If I wanted to see highly manicured image management I'd just take some No-Doz and read Gavin Newsom's tweets. But the Obama-press dance is a more consensual seduction where, in the old-fashioned sense, we're the girl. (In California, there's no other option.)
I thought that the Maxfield Parrish, heroic days of the Kennedy Administration PR, where the press and the president were pretty much all in on the same screenplay and the same jokes, couldn't happen in our modern era, what with paparazzi and tabloids and talk shows, citizen sound-bite scavengers and voracious 24/7 news cycles. But now that the stumbling Bushes and smirking Clintons are out of the White House, time has compressed back on itself like the machine in the Denzel Washington movie, "Deja Vu."
Bronstein crescendoed to a marvelous yet ominous conclusion:
So far, this is all about image and character and press "opportunities." But with what CNN financial reporter Elizabeth Cohen called this morning "gazillions of dollars" of our money at stake and crazy people with nukes bristling from around the edges of the world, we can't afford not to keep a closer eye on the substance thing.
Exactly, Phil, because if the currently swooning media doesn't come out from under their own self-administered ether, the object of their affection will be able to enact any piece of legislation he wants without any impartial examination of its merits.
Bravo, Phil. Bravo.