|September 10, 2009|
|Team Obama Faces 'Death by a Million Cuts'|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|"Obama Delivers School Speech Amid Controversy" is the headline that the online version of the Wall Street Journal is using to report on President Obama's talk today to kids about the importance of taking responsibility for their education, paying attention to class and studying hard. |
Where's the controversy?
The WSJ just couldn't let go of the silliness of conservative protests about their kids being indoctrinated by their president. The third paragraph of the WSJ story included a bulletin about one of the handful of protesters outside Wakefield High School who carried a sign that read: "Mr. President, stay away from our kids." This blogger is praying a rosary for that protester's kids.
The Journal also quoted a Dallas insurance agent who dismissed the president's speech as "propaganda." The agent, Roger Cooper, admitted that he hadn't read the speech, but heard about it on the Internet. Where's the journalism?
Cooper said of Obama: "I don't trust the man. He's been nothing but a deceiver. Why would I want my children exposed to that?"
It seems the WSJ, under News Corp's Rupert Murdoch, is picking up the "Fair and Balanced" mantra of sister company Fox News.
The Journal piece fits nicely with the "death by a million cuts strategy" that is being employed by the president's critics.
The kerfuffle over Obama's speech to school kids follows the commotion over Van Jones, the president's "green jobs czar." Jones was the target of right-wingers such as Glen Beck for signing a petition that called for an investigation into whether Bush/Cheney administration failed to take the necessary steps to prevent the 9/11 disaster. Jones was like millions of Americans who rightly questioned the Bush administration's actions leading up to 9/11. It was the patriotic thing to do.
That didn't matter to the Fox News crowd, who gleefully served as head cheerleader for the ouster of Jones. It was just another non-story brought to America courtesy of Fox. With all due respect to Mr. Jones, his position was not exactly equal to that of Secretary of State, Treasury or Defense. He was used by conservatives to make another cut as debates over real issues like healthcare reform, Afghanistan and climate change loom.
The death by a million cuts game plan is an age-old PR strategy. PR people routinely nitpick to death any story in the press that doesn't bolster their client’s reputation. Every little inconsequential fact is challenged in the hope of discrediting the overall premise of the story, though that premise is right on the money.
Good luck to the president, who speaks tomorrow before a joint-session of Congress. Hope he hits one out of the park like he did in that Virginia classroom today.
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