August 16, 2009

New York Mag's Selling (and Selling and Selling Out) of the President

NY Mag Obama.jpg

New York Magazine’s article about Obama’s “media blitzkrieg” (“The Message Is the Message”) is a lot smarter than the illustrations — unfortunately.

It not only speaks to the President’s practice — in the age of blogs, specialty presses, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Flickr, and YouTube — of meeting and managing all these challenging delivery vehicles but to go beyond them to deliver deeper, longer and richer communications — particularly, lessons about values and responsibility — in what the article coins as the “post-sound bite long form.”

The problem, however, is that the the lead image above and the two other prominent illustrations (1, 2), in tandem with the Mag’s cover, not only contradict the points and the nuance of the article. In doing so, it actually ends up putting up in lights central memes used to trash Obama — specifically, that he’s hopelessly narcissistic and overexposed.

It’s that problem, plus the fact the comment thread had been largely hijacked by trolls, that led one reader, OBAMAHATERTELEPROMPTERPOINTS, to proclaim:

Here are the latest Obama Hater teleprompter talking points:

1. Obama is the first narcissistic president. The Bushies and Ronnie Rayguns were never narcissistic. No other president ever had a large ego and a need to be in the spotlight. They all sought public office, culminating in the presidency, because they are shy, retiring, modest types.

2. Obama was not only born in Kenya. He was transported there from an alien spacecraft. Obama is ET, the Brother From Another Planet. It’s not just the Socialists, it’s the Martians who are using him to enslave the White population of the planet.

3. Obama’s multitasking, bouncing from one message to another, has nothing to do with the plate of woe and ineptitude he was served up by the previous administration. It is merely a consequence of his ADD. It is not his sense of duty and perseverance. It is a character flaw, a disease.

4. Obama doesn’t work, he delegates. That he is in constant, spinning motion, handling a multitude of issues, is not a sign of work. Little Bushie was the real worker: our First Vacationer, who spent over one third of his administration either at Crawdad or Camp David. Why can’t Obama be more like him?

5. Obama has the media in his pocket. The media are a bunch of blushing schoolgirls when exposed to his charm. (Somehow Glenn Dreck, Sean Insanity, Lush Lumbago, Bilious O’Rudely and numerous other FoxNews hate spewers seem immune.)

6. Obama has charmed the media. He is a “salesman”. The Bush/Cheney approach was much better: choke the media. Deny access. Intimidate. Snarl.

7. Obama is “Big Brother”. His image is everywhere, watching us. On the other hand, Little Bushie’s Gonzalez-enabled wiretaps of private communications is not “Big Brother”, because Republicans justify it as a security measure.

8. Obama is black (OK, half black) and surrounded by Jews. need I say more? Where are the REAL Americans?

9. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Falling victim to their own “carpet Obaming,” it’s NY Mag that missed the teachable moment.
(Revised for logic. 8/16/09. 9:40 am PST)

(Photo-illustration by James Porto. Photos: From left to right: Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP; Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP; Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa Press; Lawrence Jackson/Landov; Joshua Roberts/UPI/Landov; Courtesy of the White House; Lauren Victoria Burke/Courtesy of ABC News)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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