Newsweek's Obama Slam Could Be Turning Point
Monday, 20 Aug 2012 09:52 AM
By Ronald Kessler
Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — The financial crisis a few weeks before the last presidential election was enough to push Barack Obama over the top. This week’s Newsweek cover slamming President Obama could have almost as much impact.
“Hit the Road, Barack — Why We Need a New President” the cover says. “Obama’s Gotta Go” the article inside says.
Journalists are not idiots. They recognize that Obama, as the Newsweek cover story documents, has been a failure. But they are also lemmings who will not depart from their traditional support of Democrats unless given permission by their peers. The cover story in Newsweek, one of the most liberal-leaning publications in the country, does just that.
Because of support by the press, Obama became president in the first place and has held his own against Mitt Romney in polls.
Three months before the story of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.’s connection to Obama finally broke in the mainstream media, I began writing stories as chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com about Obama’s close association with his America-bashing minister.
The media, which had known generally about Wright since Obama announced his candidacy in February 2007, ignored the stories. If the media had picked them up then, Obama likely would not be president today.
According to pollsters, largely as a result of the stories the press finally ran about Wright, Obama’s double-digit lead over Hillary Clinton vanished. At the same time, John McCain shot up in the polls, and Hillary began winning the primaries. But by then, Obama was ahead, and it was too late for her to overcome his previous lead.
Indeed, David Remnick’s “The Ridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama” quotes an unidentified Clinton aide as saying, “If Jeremiah Wright had dropped in January , it [Obama’s candidacy] would have been over.”
Today, the media largely ignore Obama’s daily distortions and record of failure, all documented in the Newsweek article. In contrast, after President Bush gave his 2003 State of the Union address, the press attacked him mercilessly for weeks over his 16-word statement that the British government had learned that Saddam Hussein sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
In fact, the statement was true. After the British House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee reviewed the MI6 intelligence about the claim involving Niger, it concluded in September 2003 that the British intelligence service was justified in continuing to say that Hussein had tried to obtain uranium from that country. The press then ignored the report showing that Bush’s statement was indeed accurate.
But when Obama says the private sector of the economy is doing fine, belittles success, claims the Supreme Court cannot overrule a law passed by Congress, says he is not divisive even as he attacks Republicans, gratuitously injects race into his comments, or claims Romney and Paul Ryan would end Medicare as we know it, the press gives the president a pass.
None of this is lost on the public.
A recent Rasmussen poll found that 59 percent of likely U.S. voters believe Obama has received the best treatment from the media so far. Just 18 percent think Mitt Romney has been treated better.
Having been a reporter for the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, I know how susceptible journalists are to the herd instinct. The Newsweek cover story in effect tells journalists it’s OK to begin telling the truth about Obama and expose his presidency as the failure Newsweek says it is. For that reason, it could be a turning point in the election.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA.