The deafening roar of nothingness emerging from the Sarah Palin email trove points up the media’s hypocritical lack of interest in Barack Obama’s pre-presidential record.
Just as Palin’s emails were released, Slate’s David Weigel pointed out that Barack Obama’s State Senate records are not available. Weigel quotes Obama’s statement to the effect that he didn’t have the staff or financial resources to preserve office paperwork. As a result, Obama claims, his State Senate records may have been thrown out.
In fact, Obama could easily have preserved his State Senate records had he wanted to. The papers of many Illinois legislators are preserved at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. I know, because I went through many a box there. The records are in various states of completeness and (dis)organization. Often, chaotic boxes of papers have been handed over to the archivists with little effort at cataloguing. Nonetheless, many records from state legislative offices are preserved.
I’m not the only one who’s noticed Obama’s desire to hide his record, as well as the reluctance of mainstream outlets to investigate such sources as do exist. Obama fan and sympathetic Obama biographer Sasha Abramsky writes:
Much of the media, including his biographers, have concluded that the community organizing period of Obama’s life should be accorded relatively little space, assuming those years simply reflected the radical foibles of a young man trying to find himself.
Abramsky goes on to argue, in opposition to the media’s implicit judgement, that Obama’s community organizing years were actually the key to who he became. I agree. Yet the media continues to ignore important documentary revelations from a sitting president’s political past, while devoting enormous attention to the emails of an unsuccessful candidate for the vice-presidency.
Isn’t it obvious that the media’s lack of interest in Obama’s radical past–noticed even by a supporter like Abramsky–is a simple case of political protection, not to mention journalistic abdication?
The double standards are glaring. Think of the media outrage if the response to the request for Governor Palin's emails had yielded as empty a response as the inquiry into President Obama's early political career-- by both critics and sympathizers alike. The double standard does not lie in the emails request themselves, but also in the media's handling of the receipt of the emails. The New York Times, Washington Post, and LA Times all asked that their readers to do the work of the media and wade through the emails and send them any "interesting" things they find that have the potential to be made a story. The Real Feminist notes an extra layer of hypocrisy with the LA Times:
Curiously though, this same L.A. Times has – for 3 years running – repeatedly, despite numerous requests, refused to release a video it possesses of Barack Obama reportedly praising Palestinian radical Rashid Khalidi at 2003 Chicago dinner. The same Khalidi who has called Israel a “racist” state and who called suicide attacks a justified response to “Israeli aggression”. The same Khalidi who organized a 2000 fundraiser for Barack Obama’s unsuccessful congressional bid, and whose Arab American Action Network received a $75,000 grant from the Woods Fund of Chicago, while Mr. Obama served on its board.
Yes, THAT Rashid Khalidi, the lavish praise for whom by then-candidate and now-President Barack Obama the L.A. Times apparently finds less relevant than Sarah Palin’s emails sending Merry Christmas wishes, or updating staff on the latest techniques in waste management.
As Governor Palin once said in an interview, " if it wasn't for double standards, some liberals wouldn't have standards". The entire process of the email inquiry only further affirms the hypocrisy of an increasingly irrelevant Old Media. Despite the best efforts of these newspapers and their shrinking readership, the revelations of these emails have likely left a deflated media feeling much like Geraldo Rivera after his special on Al Capone's vault or Andree McLeod after yet another frivolous ethics complaint was dismissed.
Additionally, this only further confirms that Governor Palin is indeed the anti-Illinois politician. She strove to truly make her administration as transparent as possible by ridding the state of the crony capitalism and corruption of the past. She budgeted frugally and prudently. How many other governors even had the opportunity to receive emails from his or her constituents with suggestions and thoughts on what to do with a state surplus? When in Washington for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally last week, Governor Palin said she likes the smell of the emissions. I think she might like the sound of backfiring as well.
H/T Doug and Nicole
Crossposted here, here, and here.