The general election season is on, and the Times needs to offer an aggressive look at the president’s record, policy promises and campaign operation to answer the question: Who is the real Barack Obama?On October 30th, 2008, just days before the Presidential election, Tom Brokaw, the moderator (at the time) of Meet the Press, appeared on the Charlie Rose show. Both Rose and Brokaw admitted that they didn't really know too much about Barack Obama, which prompted Rush Limbaugh to ask [at the time] why they waited till the election to ask this question.
Many critics view The Times as constitutionally unable to address the election in an unbiased fashion. Like a lot of America, it basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008. The company published a book about the country’s first African-American president, “Obama: The Historic Journey.” The Times also published a lengthy portrait of him in its Times Topics section on NYTimes.com, yet there’s nothing of the kind about George W. Bush or his father.
According to a study by the media scholars Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter, The Times’s coverage of the president’s first year in office was significantly more favorable than its first-year coverage of three predecessors who also brought a new party to power in the White House: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan...
A strong current of skepticism holds that the paper skews left. Unfortunately, this is exacerbated by collateral factors — for example, political views that creep into nonpolitical coverage...
Readers deserve to know: Who is the real Barack Obama? And The Times needs to show that it can address the question in a hard-nosed, unbiased way.
Last week, Mr. Limbaugh played a clip of Charlie Rose [currently co-host of CBS News This Morning program] saying the following: "Mitt Romney's now almost certain to be the Republican nominee, but there's still a lot of questions about who he really is." Heh...
Limbaugh had a good time with that one:
RUSH: Oh, is that right, Charlie? A lot of questions about who he really is? Well, let's go back to October 30th, 2008, the Charlie Rose Show, where he had as his guest the moderator (at the time) of Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw. And we put together a montage of what they were discussing just a few days before the election in 2008. Remember now, Charlie Rose just said, "There's a lot of questions about who Mitt Romney really is."Heh...
ROSE: I don't know what Barack Obama's worldview is.
BROKAW: No, I don't, either.
ROSE: I don't know how he really sees where China is.
BROKAW: We don't know a lot about Barack Obama and the universe of his thinking about foreign policy.
ROSE: I don't really know. And do we know anything about the people who are advising him?
BROKAW: Yeah, it's an interesting question.
ROSE: He is principally known through his autobiography and through very aspirational (sic) speeches.
BROKAW: Two of them! I don't know what books he's read.
ROSE: What do we know about the heroes of Barack Obama?
BROKAW: There's a lot about him we don't know.
RUSH: It didn't bother 'em, though. There's a lot about him we know now! There's a whole hell of a lot we know now, but we didn't know then. The thing is, back then they didn't even care to answer these questions! This is October. This is a week before the election. Here's Charlie Rose and Tom Brokaw -- two of the most proud members of the media establishment -- proudly admitting they don't know a thing about the guy they can't wait to elect! They don't know who his friends are, they don't know who his mentors are, they don't know who he listens to on foreign policy. "I don't know what books he's read."
They don't know diddly-squat! They're journalists and they admit they don't know anything. And furthermore, they didn't care. It didn't matter. But now? Now that Charlie Rose doesn't know who Mitt Romney really is, and you know what that means? It means, "We can make up whatever we want! Since nobody knows what Romney is or who he is, we get to tell you who he is. And he's mean, rotten SOB that puts his dog on the roof! He's gonna have an elevator in his garage for his cars." You know what? I'll bet Romney is even gonna have air-conditioning in that garage! Not to mention air-conditioning in the rest of his house.
"And who is this Romney guy? Well, he just came out of nowhere! Nobody knows a thing about this guy."
Wait, Charlie. He ran for president 2008.
"That doesn't count because we don't know who he is!"
You ever heard of George Romney?
"Yeah, but that's his dad. We don't know who he is, other than he puts his dog on the roof of his car."
Yeah, but that was back in 1983.
"Doesn't matter! He'd do it again now if he could."
Here's the montage of the Brokaw/Rose conversation that Limbaugh put together in 2008: