The Western media and their allies in government and academe share much of the blame for the tens of millions who have died under communism. Their approach is always the same: rush in at the beginning of each new Great Experiment, heap lavish praise on the leaders, selectively report on the “successes” of the regime while ignoring the failures, and walk away when the whole thing collapses. Then start all over when the next revolution crops up.
The media has not yet walked away from Obama’s revolution, even though that revolution has failed. But journalists certainly lost no time in getting on board, reporting the “successes,” and ignoring the failures. It is incredible that among the national media Obama’s economic record remains largely unquestioned, even though the broader measure of unemployment shows 15.4% of Americans unemployed and the nation’s labor participation rate at a modern-day low. By that measure, 88 million working-age Americans are not working — an all-time high.
But the media has no intention of abandoning Obama, even if the unemployment rate goes to 25% and 200 million Americans drop out of the labor market. The unwavering support of Western intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre for Stalin demonstrated that, for the left, no price is too high for the great dream of equality.
Now, Obama’s socialism is failing, and the liberal media are unwavering in their support. It simply doesn’t matter that 88 million Americans are not working, that nearly 50 million Americans are collecting food stamps, or that, having stagnated for four years, the economy may be heading back into recession (as indicated by the June numbers on industrial production slipping below a neutral reading of 50).
Members of the media are unwavering in their support for the same reason that western liberals have supported Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chávez, and every other communist (while they have attacked Churchill, Reagan, Thatcher, and every other great conservative). No matter what it costs, no matter how much poverty and unemployment and rationing of health care, the cause is worth it. That, quite simply, is what is driving media coverage of the Obama presidency.
So when, without blinking, MSNBC reports Obama’s comments that the economy is “improving” and that he has created 5.4 million new jobs in the last three years, that has little to do with the truth. A professional journalist would report the crucial facts: the current unemployment rate, the current growth rate, the national debt, and the forecasts of respected and non-partisan economists. They would question the president about these numbers. Instead, liberal reporters continue to make excuses for the worst economic performance under any president since Herbert Hoover. Even Jimmy Carter had an average unemployment rate of 6.525%. And if you’re wondering about Obama’s predecessor, whom Obama continues to blame for the economy he inherited (“much worse than we expected”), the average unemployment rate under George W. Bush was 5.26%. During the first three years underObama, it is 9.27%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But no price is too high. Not Stalin’s genocidal policy toward “the rich,” resulting in the liquidation of an affluent class of citizens known as the “kulaks.” Not Obama’s failed economy, his obsession with attacking the rich, his assault on American free enterprise, or his destruction of the nation’s health care system. No price is too high, because the ranks of the media are filled with true believers, and they are determined to see that the revolution not fail.
Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture, including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).