Bob Franken

Raining on All the Parades

Bob Franken

Raining on All the Parades

Posted July 29,

Have you noticed, as I have, that reporters and columnists are becoming increasingly skeptical about candidate Barack Obama. It’s about damned time.

As someone who has consistently tried to be a skunk at EVERY candidate’s picnic, I have agonized watching colleagues’ adoring coverage of Obama and his non-stop photo ops. Time and again, I’ve nagged that our job is to challenge our politicians, not to adore them.

But now, we’re witnessing a more appropriate tone. More and more of us are applying the same adversarial standard to both candidates . Maybe it’s professional guilt, maybe it’s the real “bounce” after the shameless media adulation during last week’s world tour. Whatever it is, it’s high time we treat the man as something less than a rock star and hold his feet to the fire, just like we should be doing with John McCain.

In Obama’s case, the question comes down to his: Should the voters elect someone without knowing whether his experience or lack thereof qualifies him to correct the massive problems we face as a nation?

In McCain’s case we need to press him on whether he’s nothing but more-of-the-same. In other words: Does he have plenty of that experience, the kind that has dragged the nation to unprecedented depths?

Is Obama really all that different than so many of his fellow Democrats who talk a good game about rescuing the middle-class while sleeping with the very upper-class villains. I’m talking about the fat cats who have used their ill gotten gains to keep our elected officials from changing what needs to be changed. How can we know that Barack Obama is a Mr. Excitement who offers anything more than slogans.

As for John McCain, he’s been here through the Bush years and is now consorting with those he used to challenge…those who have so dishonored America with their foreign and military policies and who have brought the economy to its knees.

As you will notice, this is an equal opportunity rant, asking unpleasant questions about both the major questions. I happen to believe that’s what we’re supposed to do. I’m aware that there are many who contend journalists should take sides. They’re correct that mindless adherence to “balance” is simplistic. Still, ønce you add context you must, MUST remember that we are not here as advocates for a candidate or a point of view, but Devil’s advocates.

From a reporter’s point-of-view, a free ride for Barack Obama is no better than the free ride we gave George W.Bush as he propelled us into the Iraq War. And if we are vilified for going after anyone, we should remember that we aren’t supposed to be running a popularity contest. The fact that we have been is a large reason the country is in the miserable shape it’s in. If for reasons of ratings, or circulation or peer pressure we’re afraid to take on anyone and everyone then we’re useless.

It’s nice to see that colleagues are now back to doing that.

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