Written by Marshall Frank -
No one president was more reviled by the media during his last two years in office, than George W. Bush. But, as the saying goes, it goes with the job.
Fast forward to today. We have elected a president who, more than any other previous president, used the soap box to promise "transparency" and "openness" like no other that ever occupied the White House. During the campaign, drooling anchors of three major networks traveled with candidate Obama in Europe, while basically ignoring John McCain during his travels. The partiality was, to say the least, obvious. Well, after all, electing a black man as president is story enough. What does anything else matter, eh?Meanwhile, into the president's tenth month, it appears all that so-called transparency has drawn to a closed curtain. Not everyone loves the president the way he is accustomed to being loved, therefore, those who do not love him, are persona non-grata - no longer welcome to access. Not smart.
The big news, is the news media itself. Some commentators on Fox Cable News have been critical of Mr. Obama. (Note: commentators, not the news segments) Thus, consequences are being imposed by the White House for being critical to Mr. Obama. That equates to closing the door to the media. Uh...the chosen media: Fox...which happens to have the highest ratings and largest audience of all the cable news channels.
Is this not reminiscent of some other governments, not too long ago? Controlling the press, so that only a glowing image is radiated to the American public? One that will be forever held in high esteem and reverence. Criticism not allowed.
Anyone remember commentator Keith Olberman, of MSNBC, and his long, predictable rants excoriating President G.W. Bush for one issue or another? Where was the White House prohibitions then? Same with Chris Mathews, and others. Did Mr. Bush lock the doors to MSNBC?
The more important issue: What does this tell us about the man, and about his administration? It tells me that this is one politician that says whatever people like to hear, and then does something else. It tells me, don't trust.
I wish I were a cartoonist. I would draw side-by-side caricatures: One, a picture of Mr. Obama smiling before a microphone announcing his policy of transparency and openness, and Two, a picture of Mr. Obama with his back to the White House press room, forcing the door shut on Fox reporters. If that isn't hypocrisy in action, what is?
It all went flat on the president's team when the White House recently called on the "friendly" networks to isolate and alienate Fox. Again, not smart. Maybe the president and his staff forgot about the First Amendment's reference to a free press? To their credit, the other major networks refused to attend an interview with pay czar, Ken Feinberg, unless Fox was invited as well. That wasn't surprising, because they could see themselves in the same boat down the road, if and when they also started hammering the president and his staff.
Are we not getting the picture yet, folks?
This isn't the first sign of press manipulation. For example, in July of this year, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fumbled all over himself trying to field off charges of Mr. Obama's trend toward press manipulation as two experienced reporters pointed out how the president's staff cherry-picked loyal attendees at his so-called open forum Town Hall meetings. Those reporters were not from Fox, they were among the most liberal: Helen Thomas and Chip Reid, of CBS, complaining how the president is wrongfully trying to control the media. Helen Thomas, in particular, pointed out how this has never happened in the White House before. Check out this five minute video:
Still not getting the picture?
Now, the health care debate appears to be in closed chambers contrary to promises of openness in months past. Open debate drew resistence. Open debate drew complaints from millions of citizens. The Health care package met many obstacles that prevented it from being passed. Now, the president's staff and members of congress have apparently sequestered themselves in order to get a bill through the system, without any further resistance. A short editorial and video by Andrea Lafferty sums it up:
Meanwhile, the president continues to shield many documents pertaining to his past, from the public. Some examples:
* Obama has ignored requests for his records from Occidental College, where he studied for two years before transferring to Columbia University.
* Mr. Obama has refused to give Columbia, where he earned an undergraduate degree in political science, permission to release his transcripts.
* Obama did not agree to the release of his application to the Illinois State Bar, which would have cleared up intermittent allegations that his application may have been inaccurate.
* Obama did not release records from his time at Harvard Law School.
* And, of course, there is the mystery surrounding the actual, long form birth certificate in Honolulu, which can only be released upon permission from Mr. Obama, which he has not given.
The real mystery, is not what's on the certificate, it's the refusal to release.
Some of you may ask, "Why should he release all these things?"
The answer: Because - he is the president of this country.
Because, any citizen who applies for sensitive government jobs, is required to disclose.
All of these issues, including others, beg the question: What are you hiding, Mr. Obama?
Media manipulation? Transparency? Openness? You tell me.
Marshall Frank - Thirty years of law enforcement in Miami, Florida, including sixteen years working homicide, gives Marshall Frank a huge reservoir from which to draw insights into the problems facing America today. After retiring from the Miami-Dade P.D. in 1990, Frank went on to become a writer, now with eight published books, five fiction and three non-fiction. His book "Militant Islam In America" was published after an exhaustive research study about the inroads that radicals are making within the borders of the U.S. He is currently working on a non-fiction book about the abominable criminal justice system. Book listings, prices and availability can be accessed at his web site: MarshallFrank.com