The Necessity of an Impartial Press

I try to keep this space focused on economic and business-related topics, but after hearing about Joe Biden's interview with Florida TV journalist Barbara West, I had to comment.

Punishing the Press

In what can only be called a rash act of journalism likely to land the perpetrator in a nut-house, Barbara West, of WFTV Orlando, asked Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Joe Biden, a couple of questions that were definitely not on the New York Times/MSNBC list of approved Obama Campaign questions. Put another way, she actually asked a couple of questions that addressed an issue rather than one that allowed the candidate to pontificate in full-dress sanctimony on the need for “change” or attack McCain, Palin or republicans in general.

She asked whether spreading the wealth made Obama a Marxist and if Biden's recent comments meant that America was going to lose its leadership position in the world. Here's a link to the interview: http://www.wftv.com/video/17790025/index.html. Biden dismissed her questions and in any other campaign, that would have been the end of it. Not with this campaign, however. The response from the Obama campaign was quick and unequivocal.

The Obama campaign canceled an upcoming WFTV interview with Biden's wife, Jill Biden. According to Laura K. McGinnis, Central Florida communications director for the Obama campaign,

the Biden cancellation was "a result of her husband's experience yesterday during the satellite interview with Barbara West." She also said that, "This cancellation is non-negotiable, and further opportunities for your station to interview with this campaign are unlikely, at best for the duration of the remaining days until the election."

Perhaps the campaign was thrown off by a journalist from the mainstream media actually asking a probing question, but the idea that they would cut off that TV station—and in a major market no less—is at least a little troubling. If journalists do not ask probing and substantive questions that challenge the candidates on their statements and positions, then how are the people supposed to make an informed choice? That, however, was precisely the “crime” committed by Barbara West in her 5-minute satellite interview. She asked a probing question and the Obama campaign cut off her station from further interview opportunities. The McCain camp didn't do that to CNN, even when it became obvious that CNN had taken a quote wildly out of context and then sandbagged Palin with it.

Why the disparity? Why does one side want to straighten out the issue and the other hide behind some heavy-handed ban against the offending TV station? For the same reasons that questions about the democratic candidate's personal associations are dismissed, questions about his voting record are dismissed, questions about EVERYTHING about him are dismissed. Obama, the most liberal democrat ever to run for President has decided to hide his true colors and a willing media has gone along with it, doing everything they can to help get their man elected, and to do that requires keeping questions about his Marxist ideology under wraps.

Who Does an Obedient Media Help?

While that does help Obama—there are estimates that his treatment in the media accounts for about 5 points in the polls, which is certainly significant—it does little or nothing for small business owners, many of whom will be taxed and regulated out of business while many more will have to raise prices or cut payroll under Obama's anti-capitalist tax policies. Of course, for someone who feels that the US Constitution, while a remarkable document, “represents a fundamental blindspot” in US society and that it was a tragedy that the US Supreme Court never got into issues of redistribution of wealth, anti-capitalist economic and tax policies sold to the people by an obedient, lapdog media are the way to go. After all, how else can you reduce the people to a level where they are dependent upon the government, other than through government ownership of the economy and high taxation to “spread the wealth around”? Lenin understood the role of an accommodating media in spreading communism, now we are seeing that process repeated here.

There are those who have swallowed the Kool-Aid and are claiming that a bit of socialism is a good thing. For whom? Perhaps for the poor, whose ranks would swell given the unemployment that would likely ensue from Obama's policies. What about the productive members of society. Those who open businesses, those who employ people? These people, who ought to be lionized, are condemned as greedy, unethical and corrupt by the class warfare types and are destined to be punished even further than they are for their drive, business acumen and good luck. Why? So that we can have equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity. So that it is fair.

The Bottom Line

Americans have gotten into the unhealthy habit of throwing away essential freedoms in return for security, either physical or economic. This is not what the Founders envisioned when they cobbled out the most remarkable political document in history, the one that Obama complains represents a fundamental blindspot. It doesn't. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers all point to an America where you can be anything you want, not an America where you necessarily will. Freedom to succeed also entails taking risks and assuming responsibility, as well as the freedom to fail. It is left to the individual whether they will rise to try again or not. Like life, fairness has nothing to do with it. To try to impose fairness by forcing a system where equal outcome is the goal does not raise up the downtrodden, it lowers everyone else.

I think Winston Churchill said it best when he stated that, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

How is that for fair?