CBS News: Obama Must ‘Win Over’ Media? Is CBS Joking Here?

-By Warner Todd Huston

To answer the question of my headline, no CBS isn’t joking. CBS is actually pretending that the Old Media must be “won over” by a President Obama. It makes one wonder just how much more the press can be in love with The One? As multiple studies have shown, the Old Media has been far more in Obama’s corner than not yet now CBS wants to pretend they are skeptical of Obama? Now CBS wants to act as if they will be tough on him unless he appeases them? I know I said CBS was serious with this report, but it still seems like a joke of epic proportions.

Just catch this absurd CBS headline and subhead: How Obama Can Win Over The Media – MarketWatch Media Columnist Explains What Obama Must Do To Become America’s “Communicator-In-Chief”… I know, I know. When you’ve stopped laughing, you can continue on.

The very beginning of this farce is blind for its inability at introspection. CBS writer Jon Friedman starts his story at what he calls “an election-night party thrown by Time Warner.” But it was not a mere party it was an Obama celebration. At the party, Friedman asks the managing editor of Time magazine what advice he has for Obama and editor Rick Stengel seriously says that Obama must have “a new era of transparency.”

Obviously Stengel, Friedman, CBS and the bulk of the Old Media establishment didn’t care a whit about “transparency,” at least if Obama’s campaign itself is any example. For instance, few of them cared much about the lack of transparency in Obama’s donor base. Millions of dollars were likely donated to Obama’s campaign illegally yet not a word was ever uttered by the largest number of Old Media establishments. The Old Media obviously wasn’t interested in the transparency of Obama’s past. The media didn’t care much about looking into Rev. Wright until the Internet beat the bushes for the story and never did say a word about his communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis. The media didn’t bother to look into the “missing years” during Obama’s college years, they didn’t explore his ACORN connections and were disinterested in his votes to safeguard infanticide. All these things came out on the Internet and the New Media long before any slight interest in them was shown by the Old Media.

This is in marked contrast with how the media attempted to destroy — and is still out to destroy — Governor Sarah Palin. Whereas the media had nothing to say about Obama’s past, it was salivating to look into Palin’s. It went so far as to demand the medical records of her baby, for Heaven’s sake!

Yet, now Time’s Stengel wants to act all self-important as if Obama needs to be “transparent” in office to win him over? And if he doesn’t, what then? Is the Old Media suddenly going to fall out of love? That would be hard to believe.

After this bit of clueless pontificating, CBS writer Stengel really unleashed a funny. Friedman claims he once met Obama at an October dinner party thrown by a magazine conference in Phoenix.

Obama clearly enjoyed meeting people and making small talk. But I thought I got a glimpse of a slightly churlish Obama, too, when I asked him, rather bluntly, if he was worried about peaking in popularity with the media any time soon.

He cocked his head and took in my question, looking displeased at being buttonholed in such a friendly setting.

“No,” he declared, throwing cold water on my theory. He then explained that he was confident he could continue to do well.

And here is just one more example of how the media has covered for Barack Obama. Friedman uses “churlish” when for any other politician he’d have used the word “arrogant.”

Friedman goes on to complain that Obama was “guarded” on the campaign trail and advises the new president to “lighten up a bit.” Here one can’t help but ask why the press has made so little of this fact? Any other candidate that haughtily kept the press at such arms length would have been distrusted, even obliterated, by that same press. But, not Obama. For him they looked the other way.

I go back to the back-of-the-plane stories where several media types were a bit put off by the fact that Obama never bothered himself much to walk into the area on his campaign plane where the media sat salivating for just a glimpse of their messiah. He rarely walked among them to lay on hands and when he did he was not personable or glib, but standoffish and full of simple campaign trail boilerplate. Several media types have reported that even after being on the trail with the candidate of “change” for a year or more they never did get to see him in a loose, unguarded moment. A few reporters have offhandedly noted that they just didn’t know him after all this time but shrugged it off as a simple curiosity.

The result is that they’ve allowed Obama to get away with this arrogant and distant behavior. This snobbish man has been treated with awe instead of being treated with a journalist’s skeptical eye by nearly every journalist that covered him. The media would have allowed no one else but The One to get away with this sort of behavior without sharp rebuke.

The press has spent 8 years eviscerating George W. Bush for his lack of media glad-handing. The media similarly spent a month attacking Governor Sarah Palin for ignoring them on the campaign trail. Yet few in the press said a word about Obama’s refusal to give them much for four years and for the last month of the campaign studiously ignored the fact that Joe Biden suddenly disappeared from public view.

And now Jon Friedman and CBS want to pretend that the Old Media must be “won over” by a President Obama? He’s been leading them around like puppies for years, why would he expect they’d now all of a sudden want to hold him accountable for anything?

Far from issuing serious journalism, I think Jon Friedman is auditioning to get a spot on a sitcom writing staff with this one.

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Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as,, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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