Very frightening, I think, what the media was able to get away with this go round.
So said Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at the beginning of John Ziegler's must-see documentary "Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted."
After a nicely spliced introduction that included many of the disgraceful moments NewsBusters reported throughout the campaign, just before the opening credits rolled, Palin ominously stated, "This is for the sake of our democracy that there is fairness in this other branch of government if you will called media."
So true, and yet what Ziegler masterfully demonstrated to his viewers was that democracy and fairness were not on the minds of most press members when the campaign began in 2007.
Convinced Hillary Clinton was a cinch to win the Democrat presidential nomination, they chose to not bother scrutinizing Barack Obama in any fashion thereby giving him a pass maybe no other national candidate in history has ever been afforded.
At the same time, frontrunner Clinton was challenged on every misstep. When she erred in an October 2007 debate question concerning drivers licenses for illegal aliens, the press pounced.
Two weeks later when Obama made a similar mistake, so-called journalists didn't care.
Nor did they challenge the junior senator from Illinois about his claims he had worked tirelessly for lobbying reform as they conveniently forgot how Obama was excoriated by John McCain in February 2006 for being a fraud on the issue.
Sadly, such acts of amnesia were quite common during the campaign, and when the junior senator from Illinois shocked the world by winning the Iowa caucus, "this was all the media needed to transform Obama the candidate from mere mortal to merely God-like."
But the metamorphosis wasn't complete until the media took former President Bill Clinton's "fairytale" comments about the junior senator from Illinois' Iraq war position totally out of context thereby discrediting the country's "first black president" as racist in order to prop up its "second."
This according to Ziegler opened a floodgate of black support for Obama. More importantly, "The media had made it clear: they were dumping the Clintons for a newer, younger, hotter love."
So strong was their devotion that even when Hillary scratched and clawed her way back into the race thereby making a brokered convention in Denver a real possibility -- something that should have delighted real journalists beyond their wildest imaginations!!! -- the Obama-loving media did its best to force the junior senator from New York out of the race.
With that accomplished, the next goal was to tear to shreds John McCain's running mate, who though a successful career woman and mother of five, didn't come close to representing the media elite's vision of a modern, liberated female.
Such attacks took center stage right after Palin's powerful speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, when NBC's Brian Williams read on air from Joe Klein's Swampland blog:
I hope my colleagues, meaning his colleagues in the news media, stand strong in this case. It's important for the public to know Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library, and thinks the war in Iraq is quote a task from God. The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive but unprofessional in the extreme.
Palin responded: "Well, I think that was a call to action...Action to dig up whatever could be dug up and spun erroneously."
And, sadly, she was right, for the war was on now, and the press were going to do anything to take this woman down in order to preserve their dream of an Obama White House.
In the end, while the news media were indeed successful in getting their candidate elected president, they did so in a fashion that has tremendously damaged the journalism industry as well as their own continually diminishing credibility.
This is the lasting point of "Media Malpractice" which should be mandatory viewing at journalism schools from coast to coast as well as a must-see for anyone still questioning how today's press have totally abdicated impartiality for political advocacy.
As Ziegler marvelously stated as the film moved to a close:
This is not about President Obama. This is all about the unprecedented and dangerous media coverage that led to his election, and likely lead to his re-election. Our republic was founded on the concept that our electorate must be informed, and our elections be fair. As you have just seen, the evidence is overwhelming that our media has let us down in nearly every respect. If the grotesque display that we witnessed in 2008 does not provoke a backlash against this obvious reality, we may have just reached the point of no return.
Quite fittingly, Ziegler gave Palin the last word:
I believe that once the public understands that this isn't good for democracy what has just taken place, I think there will be enough public pressure put on those in the media to just be fair. Report objectively. Get back to the who, what, when, where, and why. You want to be a commentator? There is a role for that also, but not in hard news sources to be believed via objective reporting. We got to get back to that or I think we're in a world of hurt.