Incumbent’s ‘Media Upsides’ are the Public’s Loss

Observing (Creator’s Syndicate, 11/14/08) that “overall, the news media like winners, and an incoming president is the biggest winner of all,” Norman Solomon knows “the period between his opponent’s concession speech and the swearing-in has traditionally been a time of many media upsides without the burdens of actual incumbency.” As a result,

despite the vast amount of media analysis and commentary occurring between election and inauguration, the new president’s actual policy outlooks aren’t likely to receive a lot of tough scrutiny during that period…. While news coverage is focused elsewhere, there are some very important points being made right now by progressive commentators who are warning that some Obama positions will be–or at least should be–on a collision course with substantial portions of his political base….

[Author Tom] Engelhardt has some good advice about how to approach the substance of Barack Obama’s policy proclivities: “Pitch your own tent on the public commons and make some noise. Let him know that Washington’s isn’t the only consensus around, that Americans really do want our troops to come home, that we actually are looking for ‘change we can believe in,’ which would include a less weaponized, less imperial American world, based on a reinvigorated idea of defense, not aggression, and on the Constitution, not leftover Rumsfeld rules or a bogus Global War on Terror.”

But Solomon is savvy enough to realize that’s “not exactly the kind of assessment we’re liable to encounter as we click through the network channels or turn the mass-media pages.”