Barack Obama’s foreign policy coming out party kicked into full swing today, as he followed breakfast with soldiers stationed and a meeting with troubled Afghan President Hamid Karzai with his first interview. CBS foreign Correspondent Lara Logan got first crack at the Senator – Huff-Po’s got a quick breakdown and the video here. Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Charles Gibson are all waiting patiently in the wings for their shot at Obama, and meanwhile, as if on cue, pundits on the right are crying “Vast Liberal Media Conspiracy.”
I’m not going to deny that Obama gets more coverage than McCain – the numbers seem to bear that out. What I am going to deny is that more coverage is some sort of tacit endorsement of a candidate, as the argument seems to go. The media loves Barack Obama not on the strength of his policies or his politics, but on the strength of his story. The historic aspect of being the first African American presidential candidate aside, Obama is a young, photogenic, son of an immigrant who has skyrocketed through the ranks of the Democratic Party. That’s a newsworthy story whether you’re an Obama supporter or not, which, if full disclosure is needed, I am. Put up against a former Republican Party maverick who’s running to core party values as fast as his aging legs will carry him and is noted for not being exactly pally with the press, and it’s a pretty easy call for any page editor as to what’s going to make a more engaging story for readers. And engaging stories sell newspapers, something newspaper editors and owners famously enjoy doing.
My distaste for McCain aside, Obama’s trip is newsworthy on it’s own – he’s trying to make a splash on foreign policy, the only issue on which McCain consistently trumps him among voters. And for as much coverage of Obama as there is, much of it is critical, portraying him as a foreign policy neophyte, which can’t trouble the Straight Talk Express too much.
And let’s remember – this is not about McCain being ignored by the media. We hear about it when McCain goes to South America, when he addresses the NAACP, when he does things that are noteworthy. And considering that McCain will almost certainly speak with Gibbons, Williams and Couric during the course of the campaign, complaints about Obama being interviewed on the nightly news seem just a bit disingenuous. He’s a presidential candidate, for God’s sake! Being interviewed on the nightly news is pretty standard operating procedure.

And now for the small conspiracy, which is the fact that conservative talk radio hosts are secretly attempting to destroy my fragile brain. This week, Michael Savage took on the number one scourge of liberty, freedom and prosperity – sick children. In a rant you can listen to here if you’re so inclined, Savage declares that autism a developmental disorder affecting hundreds of thousands of children and their families just in the U.S. is

” a fraud, a racket. … I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’ “

There’s also a great bit about high asthma rates in minority communities being a product of a massive cough faking campaign. My personal favorite quote from the piece – “If I behaved like a fool, my father called me a fool…don’t sound like an idiot.” As if we needed any further proof that conservative talk radio is where irony goes to die, and then rot horribly.
Naturally, Savage’s handlers have already arranged his contrition and issued an apology, but let’s face it – we heard his opinion on the matter when he was on air, not in a later press release.
While annoying and ignorant, Savage is simply a symptom of the current super saturated media environment, in which any brainless, hateful palooka with a big mouth can go on the air and call people liars and frauds. Luckily, it also results in this site, where I can call Savage a liar and a fraud…and an asshole for good measure. There are plenty of people telling you to call you local Savage affiliate – here’s a fairly thorough list, if you want to find yours – and register you’re complaints, but it seems that just asking for him to be chastised or taken off the air lacks imagination. Personally, I’m going to call and ask that Savage be beaten with a length of pipe. Or have his eyes pulled out by crows. I mean, as long as we’re asking for things that won’t happen, let’s go hog wild, right? Meanwhile, stayed tuned to Savage Nation for more classy, well educated commentary on this and other burning issues. Like elderly grandmothers on social security! Have they no work ethic? Didn’t anyone ever tell them not to be poor? Much less old!