Journalism As Profession Dies With Contrasting Coverage Of Bush, Obama Inaugurations


Profusely thanking MSNBC for their “help” during President Obama’s first term in office, senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett’s remarks killed a little part of me.  A news agency should not be “thanked” for helping the partisan antics of either party, its sole job is to report the news.  Reporting the news is a job at which almost all of the media has failed miserably in its rush to support the charming but arrogant Obama.  Just to set the table for this long list of hypocritical reporting, here is the clip of Valerie Jarrett thanking MSNBC:




Ms. Jarrett’s thank you was actually well deserved because MSNBC and other media outlets have been relentless cheerleaders for President Obama, slanting coverage and facts on a daily basis.

The contrast between the reporting of President Bush’s second inaugural and President Obama’s second inaugural should forever eliminate and claims of balance from the major media outlets.  On Monday, the people in the media could barely contain their glee while covering “Party Time,” Democratic president Barack Obama’s second inauguration, with little interest in the cost of the events (about $180 million) even though the nation’s unemployment rate is hovering near eight percent and another battle over federal government spending looms on the horizon. the headline for an NBC News article on Monday’s inauguration declared it was “Party Time” and cheerfully exclaimed: “Obamas attend inaugural balls.”  “Obama honors military, dances at inaugural balls,” CBS News echoed. While these festivities most assuredly carried a price tag similar to Bush’s 2005 celebration, the notion that this celebration at a time of such hardship for so many Americans could be inappropriate did not merit any attention.  While a handful of reporters, such as CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson have mentioned the cost of Obama’s second inaugural, the focus has been only on the access granted to private donors who contribute to the event and not the appropriateness of the event itself.

The New York Times joined this ”celebration of Obama greatness” by commenting that the second inaugural address “which surely has to rank among the best of the past half-century, makes an argument for a pragmatic and patriotic progressivism.” The Times did caution the president that the mood of the country is not necessarily amenable to a reshaping of the American social contract in the mold of progressive, utopian ideals, but the Times ”reported” that it  felt that Obama “came across as a prudent, nonpopulist progressive.”

“America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe,” Obama said in his second inaugural address. “And we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.”




The contrast in the reporting of  the Bush second inauguration is startling EVEN IF you have completely accepted the fact of the extreme media bias.  In January of 2005, media outlets were aghast over the pomp and tone of Bush’s second inauguration festivities — before they had even occurred. “Some critics say spending so much on these parties seems ill-timed both because of the Iraq war and the tsunami catastrophe in Asia,” wrote New York Times reporter John Tierney on January 16, 2005. He examined a history of muted 20th century inaugural celebrations that seek to acknowledge political or national crises amid which they occur by striking a staid tone.  “To some extent, the criticism of inaugural extravagance reflects the longstanding concern about turning the president into royalty,” Tierney wrote.  This seems a quaint concern in the Obama era.

The narrative that Bush’s inaugural parade and parties were to be garish and tone-deaf having been established, the press went to work making this self-fulfilling prophesy manifest.  “Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration,” wrote the Associated Press’ Will Lester in 2005. He observed that the $140 million cost ($40 million of which was covered by private donations) of the ceremonies could purchase “200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq” or “vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.”

ABC’s anchor of World News Tonight, Terry Moran, followed suit. “In a time of war and natural disaster, is it time for a lavish celebration?” Moran asked. “The total cost associated with all the parties and ceremonies are expected to exceed $140 million. And some people are asking whether it’s the right time for a celebration like this.” ABC reporter Geoff Morrell proceeded to interview anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan who agreed that “It’s exactly the wrong time to be celebrating.” Presidential historian Michael Beschloss provided context and precedent, observing that President Franklin D. Roosevelt chose to scale down the wartime inauguration ceremonies in 1944.

My first job was as a reporter for the L.A. Times, (then) Santa Ana Register and the Brea Daily Star Progress and I was taught you get the facts right and keep your opinions out of factual reporting.  A little bit of me dies each day I watch “professionals” knowingly abdicate their responsibilities.



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