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Media Cover Up Obama's Malaise Speech

The liberal media aren't reporting it, but presidential candidate Barack Obama told an Oregon audience we're “goners” if we fail to stop global warming, and he intends to ask – or tell – Americans to stop driving SUVs, turn the thermostat down, even eat less. 


Reporters from at least 11 news media organizations were covering Obama's campaign appearance in Roseburg, Oregon on Saturday, when the candidate said he would expect Americans to make major lifestyle sacrifices to reverse global warming. Only two, Agence France-Presse and CNN, reported Obama's remarks.


After laying out his strategy for America to fight global warming for an audience consisting largely of environmentalists, Obama added that the U.S. would also have to cooperate with other countries:


We are also going to have to negotiate with other countries. China, India, in particular Brazil. They are growing so fast that they are consuming more and more energy and pretty soon, if their carbon footprint even approaches ours, we're goners.


According to Obama, America will have to “lead by example”:


We can't drive our SUVs and, you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees at all times, whether we're living in the desert or we're living in the tundra, and then just expect every other country is going to say OK, you know, you guys go ahead keep on using 25 percent of the world's energy, even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we'll be fine. Don't worry about us. That's not leadership.


Obama's rhetoric brings to mind former President Jimmy Carter's ill-starred “malaise” speech.  During the 1970s oil crisis Carter, clad in a cardigan, called on Americans to turn down the heat and start wearing sweaters.  Carter's speech conveyed a sense of helplessness and a lack of hope in America's future, and some political observers have described it as the beginning of the end of his presidency. 


No mention of these remarks appears in the accounts of Obama's speech published by reporters from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, or Los Angeles Times.  Two reporters from the Associated Press covered the speech, but their dispatches include not a word about Obama's dire predictions and draconian solutions.  Reuters remained mum.  NPR didn't play the audio tape, and NBC didn't play the video. 


CNN's Ballot Bowl '08 aired these remarks during its 4 pm segment on May 18, while broadcasting the entire portion of the speech in which Obama addressed environmental concerns.  CNN did not comment on the significance of Obama's statements.


Only the Paris-based news agency Agence France-Presse reported Obama's statements in a news article, and even AFP buried the quote in the fourteenth paragraph.  In contrast, the Drudge Report identified the newsworthiness of AFP's story and placed it at the top of its Web site today.  Later versions of the story, “Obama camp spies endgame in Oregon,” do not include the remarks.    


CNN Ballot Bowl '08, 4 pm, May 18, 2008, provides the following transcript:  


OBAMA: All right. So that's what we want to do on global warming here in the United States. We are also going to have to negotiate with other countries. China, India, in particular Brazil. They are growing so fast that they are consuming more and more energy and pretty soon, if their carbon footprint even approaches ours, we're goners. That's part of the reason why we've got to make the investment. We got to lead by example. If we lead by example, if we lead by example, then we can actually export and license technologies that have been invented here to help them deal with their growth pains. But keep in mind, you're right, we can't tell them don't grow. We can't drive our SUVs and, you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees at all times, whether we're living in the desert or we're living in the tundra and then just expect every other country is going to say OK, you know, you guys go ahead keep on using 25 percent of the world's energy, even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we'll be fine. Don't worry about us. That's not leadership.


 Brian Fitzpatrick is senior editor at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.