Contrary to Republican assertions, it is now clear that the media does not favor Obama over McCain. If this was ever in doubt, Romesh Ratnesar's pathetic questioning of Barack Obama on the "Surge" in Iraq was symbolic of the media's inability to do their jobs properly.
"I would like to know whether you feel that after the last five years, haven't we learned that a commander in chief needs to be willing to acknowledge mistakes or errors in judgment when circumstances change?" asked the Time Magazine Editor (who caused a storm earlier this year for his calls to invade Burma).
Obama's progressive side flashed, and the Illinois Senator snapped, "You know, I have to say, it is fascinating to me the to hear you guys reemphasize this over and over again, I have not heard yet somebody ask John McCain whether his vote to go into Iraq was a mistake. I haven't, during the entire week that we were having this conversation."
And here, Obama hit the nail on the head.
There may have been a love affair going on between the media and Obama when he was facing Hillary Clinton, but now he is up against a grizzled war veteran, the main stream media is doing exactly what it did before the build up to the Iraq War -- sucking up to power, not asking relevant questions and fearful it might be labeled unpatriotic.
McCain has been running an abominable campaign so far, and it is a miracle his party hasn't stepped in to intervene. The 71 year old has been unable to remember where he stands on the issues, contradicting virtually everything he once stood for, and doing his best to appear as un-presidential as possible. A series of blusters involving disgusting jokes about killing Iranians, ludicrous personal attacks on Barack Obama and unforgivable slip ups by his campaign on the economy should have spelled the death of his presidential bid, but the media has given him a pass, preferring to focus on Obama's speeches and inability to connect with white working class voters.
The big networks have not called John McCain out on his many blunders, and refuse to ask serious questions about the surge. They continue to repeat government talking points about its success without trying to understand it.
The "Surge" was essentially a political gimmick designed to quell violence in specific areas and create the impression that the United States was still in control. As Obama has pointed out, it hasn't done anything to promote long term stability, it hasn't quelled the huge tensions between Sunni and Shiite faction, and hasn't strengthened the Iraqi government's ability to govern. The notion that America is now "winning the war" in Iraq is ridiculous -- a short term reduction in violence does not constitute anything other than that -- a short term reduction in violence (although 53 people were recently killed in a spate of suicide bombs).
McCain is a war hero, but he is also a war monger hell bent on expanding America's imperial interests around the world via the barrel of a gun. He wedded himself to the biggest foreign policy disaster in U.S history, and has done nothing but ensure that more people die as a result of his stubbornness. McCain has not resisted a chance to engage American troops in more danger, selling the "Surge" like a used car dealer, and questioning anyone's patriotism if they dare oppose him. Obama, on the other hand, has been scrutinized for having a nuanced understanding of the conflict, and questioning the Government's assertions about its latest policy -- something the networks should be doing themselves.
Unlike Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush, McCain is no chicken hawk, but his insatiable desire to go to war is no less heinous. The networks need to focus on this before they help elect another candidate with a series of policies destined to plunge the United States even further into the abyss.
Ben Cohen is the editor of www.thedailybanter.com and a contributing writer to www.espn.com and Boxing Monthly Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org