NBC's Brian Williams recently hosted an "Inside the Obama White House" special. As the conservative Media Research Center has noted, even liberal Bill Moyers couldn't take the sugar rush: "NBC News this week delivered a candygram to the President -- two primetime specials called 'Inside the Obama White House.' President Obama couldn't have asked for a sweeter salute..." Perhaps what gave Moyers a toothache was this statement by Williams, "People react strongly to this president. We've seen people moved to tears after just the briefest encounter with him."
The danger in such hero worship is that this president (or any politician) might begin to believe his own press. A president who hears nothing but praise is likely to be less cautious and more enamored with himself. He could be tempted to think, if not actively, than passively, that he is, like Caesar, a "god," above all others in ability and accountability.
It is neither in the interest of the country, nor the president, for the public and the media to treat President Obama as a messianic deliverer.
I recently saw two bumper stickers on the same car. One said, "Obama '08" and the other "Question Authority." Surveys have shown most in the mainstream media supported Obama's election. Too many journalists have forfeited their responsibility by failing to question his authority, losing what little remains of their credibility, not to mention readers and viewers. The public is losing its right to be told the truth.
There are houses for worship. Newsrooms ought not to be one of them.
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