In the past few weeks during his daily press conferences, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has called out a few media figures, such as Rick Santelli, Jim Cramer, and Rush Limbaugh. This corresponds with Obama’s attacks on Sean Hannity during the election and Obama telling Congressmen not to listen to Rush Limbaugh. Also, Maureen Dowd got a stern talking to from Obama during the primary after she commented on Obama’s ears of all things.
It has become quite apparent Obama and the White House has taken some issue with leading media figures who disagree with them. It seems Obama lacks the thick skin a politician must have to survive in Washington. He is in the wrong business if he cannot take some criticism. Apparently his narcissism is showing again.
The fact that Gibbs has called out people by name is disturbing. Yes, the Bush Administration at times attacked the NY Times and other media outlets for their misleading articles and leaked stories that were detrimental to national security, but they attacked the media outlet, not the private citizen who wrote them. Attacking these private citizens, who are not public officials, from the bully pulpit is intimidation and plain despotic and oppressive. This is something Lenin did in Russia and Chavez is doing now in Venezuela.
The freedom of the press is at the cornerstone of our Republic and part of our founding. Pamphleteers spread the word of Thomas Paine, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and others about freedom, liberty, and rejection of oppression of King George. These words fanned the flames of freedom and motivated the colonies to rise up against England.
The press is one of the checks and balances against the tyranny of the State. It has been said that the press is supposed to be the watchdog over the government. It is their job to criticize the government and its leaders, so Obama and Gibbs better “man up” and be able to take some criticism.
Federal Court Judge Murray I. Gurfein of Nixon fame said, “A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, a ubiquitous press, must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the right of the people to know.”
He was right. The government must tolerate credible, fair, and honest attacks from the press, because the press’s job is to preserve our freedoms and keep the government in check and not allow them to abuse their power. That is what Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santelli, Jim Cramer, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, and so many more are doing. They are putting Obama in his place and telling him and the government that they have overreached their power and breached their trust with the American citizens.
By attacking them by name is intimidation and something out a fascist’s playbook. They are overreaching their power once again, which makes the citizenry wary and uneasy. Anyone in the government loses credibility in the eyes of the public when they intimidate private citizens. Not only has Gibbs and Obama embarrassed themselves in how they have treated these people in the media but lost their integrity and trustworthiness with the People.
If the White House continues these petty, amateurish barbs with the media, all they do is undermine their ability to lead our nation and empower the media to keep attacking them, justifiably, in self-defense of their profession and defense of our freedoms and liberties.