Am I the only one feeling a strong sense of deja vu, now that the text of Obama's school address has been released and everyone can confirm the obvious, that not one of the idiotic claims made by the right-wing about how the President of the United States was doing to “indoctrinate” school children was even remotely based on fact? The whole “controversy” was simply concocted by the radical right, and naturally the Beltway press dutifully chronicled the insanity, under the heading of “news.”
Why was it “news” ? Because “conservative critics” had made a charge (that had no basis in reality). Because “conservative critics,” who had no idea what Obama would say to students, had prematurely dreamt up some loony tunes claim about how Obama shouldn't be allowed to urge children to excel in school. And now with the text having been made public (and the damage already done to Obama), critics are shifting into never-mind mode.
The strong sense of been-here/done-this comes from the premature idiocy that surrounded ABC's primetime health care special in June. Prior to the telecast right-wingers, led by the factually allergic Matt Drudge, claimed ABC wouldn't allow critics to ask Obama any questions; that the town hall forum was fixed. Proof of the allegation? There was none. Indeed, critics had no idea what the special would look like. But because “conservative critics” had manufactured out of whole cloth some crazy allegation, the press covered it as news.
And guess what? When the ABC special aired, it was obvious that the allegation of a “fix” was totally bogus. (Duh!) So what did the critics do? They shifted into never-mind mode. In fact, after the ABC forum aired, the same right-wing blogger who claimed critics would be banned by ABC, highlighted all the skeptical questions that had been put to Obama.
As I wrote in June [emphasis added]:
This is the latest example of a unique brand of media criticism that conservatives have perfected -- the pre-emptive critique. Drudge and company have no idea what the substance of ABC's special will look or sound like, but they've already decided it's a crime against journalism.
With the current school “controversy,” the right-wing simply adopted its time-honored pre-emptive critique of the press and adopted it for the real world. i.e. They had no idea what Obama would say to school children, but they decided it would be evil. Just like they decided, based on nothing, that ABC's special would be evil. In both cases the press played along, and in both cases the right-wing allegations turned out to be completely bogus.
Question No. 1: How many more times is the press going to get duped?
Question No. 2: How many elite media pundits will step up and denounce the transparent insanity of the school “controversy” now that even its ring leaders concede it was bogus?