Monday, August 11, 2008

Obama, Hawaii, and the idiocy of Cokie Roberts: Yet another example of the media's abominable coverage of the 2008 presidential race

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Honestly, I can barely summon the energy this evening to respond to this. It's not like I ever have high hopes for the mainstream news media or anything, and their coverage of the presidential race (and of Obama in particular) has been predictably appalling, but it's nonetheless stunning how low they can go, how utterly ignorant and stupid they can be, and how so spectacularly moronic well-paid celebrity reporters and pundits can be.

And I'm not talking about Fox News. I'm talking about the allegedly "neutral" press.

To wit: Appearing on ABC's This Week yesterday, Cokie Roberts -- whom I recently criticized for playing up the alleged divide between Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party -- criticized Obama's choice of vacation destination, Hawaii. Today on NPR (via TPM) she followed up with this:

It's a little rough to be doing it at this point, although I think he's feeling somewhat secure, but Hawaii is also a somewhat odd place to be doing it. I know that he is from Hawaii, he grew up there, his grandmother lives there, but he has made such a point about how he is from Kansas, you know, the boy from Kansas and Kenya, and it makes him seem a little bit more exotic than perhaps he would want to come across as at this stage in the presidential campaign.

So, what, Obama isn't allowed to go on vacation. It's too "rough"? And how is going on vacation -- during the Olympics -- a sign that he is "feeling somewhat secure"?

But let's get to the heart of the matter: It's wrong for him to go to Hawaii because it's too... exotic? Why, because non-whites live there? Because it's too, er, colourful? Because it's too far away from the Beltway, the ring around the center of Cokie's universe? Too far away from White America, Middle America, Main Street America? Too far away from those much-fought-over "centrists" and "independents," whites mostly, in Appalachia and the Rust Belt? Apparently he should have chosen to vacation in Scranton or Toledo. Maybe he should have gone hunting with Dick Cheney.

Last time I checked, Hawaii is a state. And it has electoral votes, right? And real, honest-to-goodness American citizens live there, right? -- even if they don't look like the inhabitants of Scranton and Toledo, even if they look a bit "exotic," even if they eat "exotic" food, dress in "exotic" clothes, and listen to "exotic" music.

And, yeah, Obama is partly, by ancestry, from Kansas and Kenya, but he's also from Hawaii. And yet, is he only allowed to vacation where he has ancestral roots?

And why the focus on Obama here? Would there be any such criticism if, say, McCain were to vacation among the ex-Scandinavians in Minnesota or among the ex-French in Louisiana? No, of course not. Obama is held to a different, higher, and unattainable standard. And why? Because, according to the media, he's different, because the burden is on him to prove that he's all-American (read: WASPy) enough to be president.

And because media celebrities like Cokie Roberts, well-paid and well-heeled, are exceedingly stupid -- and, it would seem, bigoted.

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  • But, but, Michael! People expose bare flesh on the beaches there! It costs a lot of money to get there! You have to take an airplane! You can't just pack up the car and hope you have enough money left on your credit lines for the gas!

    By Blogger Carl, at 2:09 PM  

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