This is from the New Yorker article “Making It” by Ryan Lizza:
Obama has always had a healthy understanding of the reaction he elicits in others, and he learned to use it to his advantage a very long time ago. Marty Nesbitt remembers Obama’s utter calm the day he gave his celebrated speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, in Boston, which made him an international celebrity and a potential 2008 Presidential candidate. “We were walking down the street late in the afternoon,” Nesbitt told me. “And this crowd was building behind us, like it was Tiger Woods at the Masters.”
“Barack, man, you’re like a rock star,” Nesbitt said.
“Yeah, if you think it’s bad today, wait until tomorrow,” Obama replied.
“What do you mean?”
“My speech,” Obama said, “is pretty good.”
This makes no sense to me. In 2004 Barack Obama was the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate from Illinois. He barely left any footprints during his time at Occidental College and Columbia University, and his first memoir had bombed and was out of print. The only evidence of “the reaction he elicits in others” was when he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review fifteen years earlier.
He had little to show for most of his career as a state senator, and he lost a primary challenge to Bobby Rush four years earlier. The only reason Obama won in the 2004 Senate primary was that Blair Hull, who had a substantial lead in the polls, went from heavily-favored front-runner to distant third when allegations of domestic violence were published in the Chicago papers. (The media were spoon-fed the info by Axelrod)
As the passage above states, Obama had not even given THE SPEECH that made him famous yet. His 2002 anti-war speech never even got reported in the local media. So why were crowds in Boston following him? I mentioned this before, and someone suggested that he was famous from appearing on Oprah’s television show, but I recently discovered that Obama was never on the show until 2006.
Maybe Nesbitt was lying or mistaken, but if he was telling the truth then that’s damn strange. Let’s not forget that by 2004 Obama was hooked up with David Axelrod, who specializes in astroturfing. Could Axelrod have hired a fan club to create a “buzz” about Obama at the 2004 convention? In any event, the point is that Ryan Lizza is a journalist, and supposedly a pretty good one, so why didn’t he spot and follow-up on what seems to be an inconsistency?
One of my pet peeves is shoddy journalism. I expect journaists to provide reasonably accurate descriptions of events, and to be intelligent and knowledgeable about the things they cover. They should be able to spot inconsistencies, contradictions and conflicting information, and they should never withold material facts.
As a blogger I know very well that sometimes you report something and you find out later it wasn’t correct. As with all writers, my personal opinions and biases affect how I perceive information and what I consider important. But I work for free, I don’t get paid to travel around the country on an expense account so I can witness events as they happen and then write down the first draft of history.
When I make a factual error I try to correct it promptly, and if someone sees an inconsistency or a loose end in something I post I try to follow up on it so I can verify, rectify and/or clarify. According to what Glenn Greenwald says, “professional” journalists not only don’t like to admit errors, they get really pissy when someone points them out.
Here’s another example of shoddy journalism – Joan Walsh wrote this recently in her faux mea culpa that many journalists do this time of year:
It didn’t snow Jan. 3; the shiny new Clinton shovels stayed in the garage. But the shiny new voters electrified by the Obama campaign came out, for real. The caucus site I covered more than doubled its 2004 turnout; Obama crushed Clinton and John Edwards there and in the rest of the state.
Barack Obama won the Iowa Caucuses with 37.58% and got 16 delegates. John Edwards got 29.75%, which was marginally better than Hillary’s 29.47%, but she ended up with 15 delegates while Edwards got 14 delegates. 16-14-15 I’m not seeing where Obama crushed anyone in Iowa.
If Obama was the reason that turnout doubled, how come he got less than 50% of the votes? I’m not real good a math but apparently Joan Walsh is worse. We saw record turnouts in all of the Democratic primaries and caucuses, including the ones Hillary won by wide margins.
I’m also wondering, since Ms. Walsh was present for the Iowa event, is whether she made any effort to to find out who all those new voters were? They came in organized and prepared, and used similar loud, bullying and intimidating tactics in every location. Many were strangers to the locals who have been caucusing for years.
Exit polls said that a big chunk of the newbies were young (under 30) and were first-time caucusers. I’m not surprised it was their first time, they don’t use caucuses across the Mississippi River in Illinois. Did Joan or any of the other paid shills hacks professional journalists stroll the parking lots to check the license plates on cars? Can any of them say authoritatively and truthfully that there was no caucus fraud in Iowa?
When Hillary pulled off an upset victory a week later in New Hampshire, journalists went looking in vain for evidence of voting machine fraud and/or the “Bradley effect.” I’m not holding my breath waiting for them to investigate caucus fraud or illegal campaign donations.
When Sarah Palin was selected at John McCain’s VP nominee, planeloads of journalists invaded Alaska to sniff her panties, search for pictures of her in a swimsuit and to interview anyone willing to say something bad about her. As for Obama’s past, they just take his word for it. If later events reveal he wasn’t telling the truth, they accept his explanations and evasions without question.
And the #%*&#$* still get paid.
(graphic by Carolyn Kay at Make Them Accountable)