From Sultan Knish, The Obama-Media War.
The media these days doesn’t have much. Its numbers are bad in every medium from the tube to the inky pages of newsprint to the crackling AM radio waves. It isn’t very profitable. Often it’s a dead weight. But it wields a great deal of institutional power. The New York Times and CNN may both be dogs when it comes to the balance sheets, but owning either one gives you an impressive amount of heft in the national dialogue; though not as much as working for one of them does.
Power is all that the media has. Its power is projected in a fairly narrow circle. Fewer people are reading, watching and listening to it, so its circle becomes more incestuous. Everyone has learned to act like a member of the D.C. press corps, interpreting events through the lens of old West Wing episodes. The resulting noise reaches fewer people, but helps form the shaky consensus on which the institutional power of the media stands.
On his end, Obama has a practical need for the media, but no emotional need. Interviews, even of the softball media kind, challenge his control. They question him and Obama does not like being questioned. While media figures see themselves as serving a meaningful liberalizing institution, he sees them as carriers of a narrative. A narrative that can just as easily be carried anywhere else.
When Obama looks at the media, he doesn’t see Walter Cronkite, he sees a bunch of radios, televisions and newspapers; which these days are little more than footnotes for the internet. There is nothing special about that to him or his cronies. Just mediums that distort his message because he doesn’t control them. And so Obama chooses to control every medium he uses.
Hubris and power often undoes itself by reaching too far. Never satisfied with the power it has, it seeks more. Policy failures are not faced honestly, but blamed on the restrictions that power faces, such as the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Thus they seek to subvert the restrictions of constitutional law, or any form of accountability, to fulfill their moral supremacist and utopian fantasies. In the heart of every moral supremacist is a wish for a benevolent dictator, unrestrained by limits on their power. But when the dictator is no longer benevolent, he is still a dictator.