Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Obama: Fight Mediocrity and Mediatocracy

Here's, IMHO, the most important part of Obama's victory speech from last night:

This primary season may not be over, but when it is, we will have to remember who we are as Democrats . . . This fall, we intend to march forward as one Democratic Party, united by a common vision for this country. Because we all agree that at this defining moment in history – a moment when we're facing two wars, an economy in turmoil, a planet in peril – we can't afford to give John McCain the chance to serve out George Bush's third term. We need change in America. [...]

Yes, we know what's coming. We've seen it already. The same names and labels they always pin on everyone who doesn't agree with all their ideas. The same efforts to distract us from the issues that affect our lives by pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy in the hope that the media will play along. The attempts to play on our fears and exploit our differences to turn us against each other for pure political gain – to slice and dice this country into Red States and Blue States; blue-collar and white-collar; white and black, and brown.

This is what they will do – no matter which one of us is the nominee. The question, then, is not what kind of campaign they'll run, it's what kind of campaign we will run. It's what we will do to make this year different. I didn't get into [this] race thinking that I could avoid this kind of politics, but I am running for President because this is the time to end it. . . .

This is all about media, voice and democracy. It's about the FCC, the FEC; it's about pundits and CEOs. Obama knows this and this is the subtext of his campaign. The media know this too--and they've been fighting back.

The last three weeks have been a virtual blackout of positive Obama news, a blackout of Obama himself. Indeed, Obama was presented only through the filters of the Kristols and the Crowleys, while smiling pictures of Hillary giving motivational speeches were aired.

This period seems to be over and the media has seen the momentum shift for the final time. They saw it on Bill's face last night.

Does this mean the fight against Obama is over? Hardly--the long hard slog is beginning. We will see more of the same: Wright, few excerpts from speeches and first-person Obama, little talk of Obama's incredible and populist fundraising. The media narrative will "stay the course" in that Obama will be portrayed as elitist, disconnected, different, radical and strident, while McCain will be fluffed beyond belief.

Can they keep him off the air? Can they keep him on the defensive? I don't think so, but they will try.

The goal now, short of preventing Obama's election, is to limit his mandate and define what he can talk about.