Nets Ignore Michelle Obama's Lack of Pride in America

The wife of a leading Presidential candidate implies she doesn't think much of America, and the networks ignore it?

All three major television networks have failed to cover the February 18 comments by Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, at a speech in Wisconsin: “What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback.  It is making a comeback and let me tell you something, for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.  And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”

In contrast, all three networks covered charges by Hillary Clinton's campaign that Barack Obama committed plagiarism in a speech he gave over the weekend.  The speech used the phrase “just words” in juxtaposition with iconic lines from sources like the Declaration of Independence and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Those same words were used in a speech delivered by Deval Patrick, a Democrat then running for governor of Massachusetts in 2006. Patrick, a longtime friend of Obama's, reportedly said he has worked with Obama on speechwriting.

Each network spent significant story minutes covering the latest war of words between Clinton and Obama in what fundamentally is a non-story.  All three networks covered Obama's acknowledgement that he should have attributed the source of his speech while noting that he and Patrick exchange speech ideas frequently.  All three networks included Obama's counter charge that Clinton is using his (Obama's) rhetoric as well.

No network anchor, producer or reporter thought it was significant that a 44-year-old woman who could become the First Lady of the United States hasn't been “really proud” of her country in her adult life before now.

Michelle Obama's adult life began in approximately 1981.  The fall of the Berlin Wall and the defeat of communism took place in 1989. The end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union followed, due largely to U.S. policies.  America's rescue of little Kuwait from Saddam Hussein.  Colin Powell and Condeleeza Rice rising to Secretary of State. America's generosity to the victims of the tsunami in 2004.  Apparently none of these events caught Michelle Obama's attention.

In her undergraduate courses at Princeton, Michelle Obama must have read about America defeating the evil regimes of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan at the cost of 400,000 lives during World War II, then treating both peoples as friends, rather than claiming their lands, and rebuilding both shattered nations.  None of those events has made her “really proud?” The networks didn't find that preposterous?

The blogosphere and conservative talk show hosts have been all over Obama's remarks today.  By now, the networks must have heard about it.  One wonders whether the broadcast networks will cover the storm tonight. 

And if they do, will they look over other Michelle Obama speeches in which she declares America's “soul is broken” and that her husband and his plans for bigger government are the only ways to fix that brokenness?  Will they question the veracity of a Harvard Law School-trained lawyer's claims that things have gotten “progressively worse” for America over the course of her lifetime even though much of that lifetime has encompassed a period of enormous economic expansion?

One of the hallmarks of character is standing behind what you say.  If we take the Obamas at their word – that words and ideas matter – then it matters that a woman who hopes to be First Lady apparently believes and publicly states she has never been “really proud” of this country until now. Will the news media ask the follow up question – “Are you serious?”

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.