Monday, July 21, 2008
In 1932 When FDR ran for president he and his advisers worried about the impact of his disability, but it turned out to be an issue of no consequence. As a campaign issue it never surfaced during FDR's career.Perhaps it was because an already "leftist" press took no pictures showing him in his wheel chair or hobbling along on crutches.
FDR was anything but open or casual about his inability to walk. On the contrary, he wanted little or no mention of it, particularly any comment that conveyed weakness. In short, FDR was extremely sensitive to any one's calling attention to his infirmity. His family made no mention of it except if some practical arrangements were to be made.And a willing newspaper corps accommodated his wishes!
"The press tacitly agreed to not take pictures of FDR in his wheelchair. When he was settled in his chair there would be lots of photos, but not before. Journalists, with whom he met regularly, never talked to FDR about the fact that he could not walk. It would have been rude to raise the topic with the president — or even to seem to be aware of his useless legs. In those days people had a different view of privacy, even when it came to public figures" source: Curtis Roosevelt
Appearing in public presented logistical problems for FDR. On such occasions, when the president had to put on his heavy braces, required planning. By swinging his hips, which pushed his legs forward, leaning on a cane with one hand and gripping the arm of a sturdy companion with the other, FDR seemed to be walking. Thus he was able to navigate the few steps to a podium or to greet official guests when protocol required him to stand.
Roosevelt knew instinctively that American voters did not need to know about his disability, and the Press co-operated!
Today we have much more media coverage of candidates for public office with 24 hour television , Newspapers and the ever growing power of Internet blogger. The obvious positive spin that the major newspapers and network television is giving to Barack Obama is reminiscent of the coverage given to FDR.
Obama is shown playing basket ball with the troops in Kuwait, going to church in the South,and the almost adoring, treatment from the media compared with rival Democratic Senator Clinton in the primary debates. As expected, Hillary Clinton agreed that Obama was getting preferential treatment from the media,especially from the late Tim Russert in the opening debate.
Then was Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who dominated news coverage for a few days when YouTube videos circulated of the reverends fiery sermons. But the MSM quickly consigned any further coverage of Wright to the trash can!. When his wife Michelle made her infamous speech about "never being proud", the left came to her aid with statements that she was being unfairly picked on because she was a Black outspoken woman! And negative coverage of her evoked such replies as, "It is a bold-faced exercise in Conservative desperation and fear. It's a shallow, pathetic maneuver put forth by a shallow, pathetic right wing movement"!
A new study of primary coverage by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University shows Clinton and Obama had almost 70 percent favorable coverage of their personal narratives, while only 43 percent of McCain’s coverage was favorable.
And a October 31 release by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy. Called “The Invisible Primary–Invisible No Longer,…nbsp; during the first five months of 2007, Obama received by far the most positive coverage of any presidential candidate.
This new study follows a long line of media complaints that Obama has received reverential coverage from the press. Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz has claimed that the “walk on water coverage…nbsp; of Obama “ranges from glowing to gushing,…nbsp; Slate.com's Timothy Noah even started a feature titled "The Obama Messiah Watch.†
In a perfect world the Media would be totally neutral in their reporting. It is the obligation of the media to report, not make, public opinion. They can express their opinion on the editorial pages and segments, but not in the stories. This expectation should apply to all media from USA Today and CNN to the the city gazette in Podunk! Kind of reminiscent of the 40s when both FRD and a little dictator with a mustache got nothing but positive Press!