Friday, March 18, 2011

Why the Pass for the Chosen One?

I often hear my righty friends complaining that the main-stream (drive-by) media gives Pres. Obama a pass, because he is the "Chosen One" and therefore above criticism. Well, yes, MSNBC may do that, but I think you have to see Rachel Maddow and co. as satirists, not actual news commentators. Because the fact is that some fine lefties are plenty critical of the Chosen One. Nat Hentoff, for example. (Yes, it's WND, but Nat is an honest lefty). My man Nat says:

Particularly telling – in view of President Obama's continuous contempt for constitutional limitations on executive powers – Alexis Agathocleous, a Center for Constitutional Rights staff attorney involved in its lawsuit, Aref, et al. v. Holder, et al., tells me:

"Designation of a control unit within the federal prison system regularly comes with due process. This includes notice of the allegations against you, an opportunity to refute those allegations and an appeal. But prisoners sent to the CMU receive no such procedural protections.

"They are not told in any meaningful way why they have been designated to the CMU, nor do they have a chance to challenge that designation. Additionally, there is no meaningful review process that would allow them to earn their way out.

"CMU prisoners are therefore indefinitely subjected to harsh deprivations – such as a permanent blanket ban on contact visitation with family and loved ones (far more severe than at the Supermaxes) – without procedural protections guaranteed by the Constitution." President Obama agrees.

So I missed an historic event: When was Barack Obama coronated?

If you think THAT is "giving a pass," maybe it's because you righties actually AGREE with proliferation of unconstitutional denial of due process, and basic human, rights to prisoners.

How about this NPR story?
Not exactly cozying up to the administration. Here is Part 2 of that series.

What about The Nation? Hysterical lefties like that clearly are giving the Prez a pass, right? Not so much, actually.

Hentoff asks a good question: "There has been very little attention to these Guantanamo Norths in the press – print, radio, television (broadcast and cable), even the Internet. (Where are the websites of outrage? The Facebook pages of protest?)"

Well, my constitution-loving friends on the right... how about it? I'm thinking you only "love" the Constitution when it serves your narrow interests.


Richard Stands said...

I can't answer for those on the right, but this libertarian agrees wholeheartedly that many federal crimes should be abolished, let alone these abusive American gulags. Criminal law is primarily a state issue.

In regard to the coverage you highlight, while all attack CMUs, I notice that NPR and The Nation never mention President Obama, Attorney General Holder, or the Administration as holding ultimate responsibility. Mr. Hentoff does.

It's laudable that the left press shines light on CMUs. But, without asserting that administrations which allow this type of abuse to continue assume the mantle of responsibility for them, these outlets enable their audiences to evade implicating their favored participants.

This is a bad practice. If the Obama administration is perpetuating it, why is the Obama administration never explicitly called out?

Anonymous said...

isn't all news, from WRAL to Fox to the colbert report satire?? if it is not, then I have a horrid sense of humor. Oh, phil 155, intro to symbolic logic, why have you ruined me so? I can no longer take the tv seriously, what am I to do with myself??

Anonymous said...

As a liberal, party unaffiliated voter, I particularly enjoy watching the game 'Constitutional Rights Connect Four.' It appears to play under the same rules as 'Deficit Bingo.'

Perhaps it is because I'm a lefty, but it appears that the difference between how the right and left play it is, the Right tends to judge it's proponents on a much gentler curve than the left.

Zenon Zygmont said...

"a much gentler curve than the left?"

Hentoff said that when he "came out" as pro-life he was shunned by his leftist allies.

We need more Hentoffs across the political spectrum.

And don't forget his jazz writing!

John Thacker said...

There has been extensive coverage at Reason, and on some various blogs on "the right" (libertarians, really) like the Kling/Caplan/Henderson blog and Megan McArdle's.

Hentoff is a Cato scholar now, correct?

I've long felt and argued that SuperMax prisons are worse torture than waterboarding, and certainly worse than the typical Gitmo treatment, but no one really cares.

John Thacker said...

I would also say that, unfortunately, the lefties who are giving this the proper attention are the exception rather than the norm. (Glenn Greenwald would be another you didn't mention.) I can just as easily point to various righties that properly criticized Republican excesses when it office, but that doesn't mean that it was consistent, common enough, or among enough of the big hitters either.

I'd like to think that they would pay more attention if a Republican were President, but it's not like they care about SuperMax prisons then, just Gitmo.

Pelsmin said...

No no no. You can't use this story to say the left-wing media is taking Obama to task or not giving him a pass. First, Hentoff is a left-winger like George W. is a conservative. Hentoff is a purist and an internally consistent thinker (hardly hallmarks of the left), who may often speak for the left, but often speaks for libertarian views.
Second, the NPR article never mentioned Obama. Do you think people hear "Bureau of Prisons" and say "Why that's under the DOJ, and therefore under Obama's oversight!" The media know how to do this. That's why Reagan "classified ketchup as a vegetable in school lunches," according to numerous MSM articles, which didn't want to say "Junior bureaucrat in minor department makes trivial decision." And you would read that the "USDA tightens safety standards," but "Bush administration responsible for lapses in food poisoning scandal."
The media keep Obama's names a hundred miles from these stories.

Chip S. said...

You have righty friends who consider The Nation to be mainstream? That's life at Duke, I guess.

Let us know when you find Obama being denounced on a regular basis in the NYT or on ABC/CBS/NBC for doubling down on Bushism.

Dave Hansen said...

And what about the press's hard hitting coverage of the so-called "kill team" of soldiers in Afghanistan who are under trial for killing innocent citizens for sport and taking trophy pictures and body parts. Oh wait, that's right. The only major papers to cover the story are in England and Germany.

This isn't to say that people on the right (and left and everywhere in between) don't use the Constitution for partisan ends, but that's a separate issue from the mainstream media's political biases.