Thursday, August 23, 2007

TIME article on Obama underscores general suckitude of mainstream media

TIME magazine this week runs an article on Barack Obama's comments that, hey, perhaps our long-standing policy towards Cuba--known in the national security biz as the "la la la, I can't heeeeear you!" policy--might, you know, be pretty stupid. Given the fact that this policy started with Kennedy and has continued for the next 47 years without doing a single thing to the Castro regime, it's certainly reasonable to ask this question.

My problem with TIME, however, is that their lead article on the subject is titled, "Will Obama's Stance on Cuba Hurt?" This illustrates perfectly the problem with the major media: they insist on interjecting themselves, through their political "analysis," into every story. They can't simply do a story on Obama saying that our policy on Cuba is completely idiotic and needs to change, no, they have to preempt the actual facts of the case with a long political analysis piece on how this will hurt his standing in the 2008 elections, particularly in Florida, home to many of the completely crazy and insane anti-Castro types.

Hillary Clinton, predictably, lashed out at Obama. Hillary, though the front-runner, is hardly behaving as such, and instead apparently believes that the best political strategy these days is to criticize everything Obama does, accusing him of naiivetee. For example, when he made the completely non-controversial comment that we would attack bin Laden inside Pakistan if we had intelligence that he was there and Pakistan refused to help, Clinton tried to gin up some controversy by claiming that his comments were the result of inexperience. (Of course, nobody asked her the logical question: "so are you saying you would NOT attack Pakistan in those circumstances?")

TIME's approach to this article, which in many ways sets the tone of political coverage these days, has two problems: first, by asking the question "will these be a problem," you increase the odds that it will actually BECOME a problem. Second, by emphasizing the horse-race nature of politics, you ignore the actual issue itself, and allow people to think that the winning candidate obviously had the winning policy. Should Clinton win, you can now expect that US policy on Cuba will remain unchanged for the next five years.