Nar-cis-sism – noun
1. inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity
In mythology, Narcissus was the guy who fell in love with his own reflection.
In 2009, he’s the president of the United States.
Instead of adoring his own image, Obama loves to hear himself talk – about himself. In just 41 speeches this year, Obama has talked about himself nearly 1,200 times – 1,198 to be exact. (That breaks down to 1,121 “I”s and just 77 “me”s.) And that just includes 34 weekly addresses and his seven major speeches. Count the hundreds of other public speeches and he’d be off the charts.
And if you needed any more confirmation, there was this Sunday’s Obama-palooza on the network talking head shows. Obama pulled a presidential first, going back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back on five different networks. He hit “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on ABC, “Meet the Press” on NBC, “Face the Nation” on CBS, as well as interviews on both CNN and Univision.
“We’re essentially roadblocking the time by appearing on each station,” David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president, told The New York Times. Pretty easy to monopolize a message when you block all five networks. And yes, the media didn’t just let him, they reveled in it. CNN’s Howard Kurtz and others even did stories about Obama’s overexposure, only mildly hinting at the irony that they were making the problem worse at the same time.
The interviews went off as expected. Obama kept his “I” on the nation’s problems. He mustered 387 personal mentions in just 82 minutes of air time. Forget the economy, health care, racism or whatever. Every 13 seconds, Obama was talking about … Obama. Next stop, David Letterman on Sept. 21. You already know the topic.
That’s to be expected for a TV hound like Barack Obama. Martha Joynt Kumar, a political science professor at Towson University in Maryland, said Obama has had nearly three times the number of interviews either Bush or Bill Clinton had at this time in his presidency. The New York Times Caucus blog reported: “As of his seven-month in office mark in August, he had done 114 interviews, compared to 37 by former President George W. Bush and 41 by former president Bill Clinton.”
At this rate, he’ll top all presidents combined by the time he and his ego leave office.
It’s so bad, it’s either humorous or pathetic. Let’s try humorous first. Obama loves himself so much that …
· When he goes to the optometrist, he uses an “I” chart. Bada bing.
· When he got his new iPhone, he thought it was named after him. (If GE made it, the phone might have been named after Obama, after all.)
Not bad enough? Then let’s try the pathetic. To do that, we need a point of comparison and few things are more pathetic than Congress.
But Obama can forget the members of Congress. At least he tries to. It doesn’t matter if they’re Republicans, Democrats, Blue Dogs or progressives. Obama outnumbers them – in his own mind. In just 41 speeches, he has mentioned himself more than twice the number of every member of Congress combined.
Remember, there are 435 members of the House. Another 100 in the Senate. And you can throw in five delegates, if you want. That’s 540. In just 41 speeches, Obama talked about himself double all of that. He has enough leftovers to add another state with 59 representatives – or more than any state including California.
That’s also more than a bit ego-maniacal. But call Obama on anything and you are a “racist,” a “hater” or both. Any way you slice it, your opinions are somehow a threat to the body politic – the big “I” in the WhIte House.
The media have gone out of their way to paint this picture. It was especially obvious last weekend when anti-Obama protesters held more than 200 9-12 events around the nation. Tens of thousands of ordinary Americans gathered together to protest the excessive growth in government. How were they treated by America’s sycophantic media?
Racists of course. The New York Times’ wacky Maureen Dowd put it all in black and white. She skewered South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson for saying the truth, that Obama lied. Dowd called him a “milquetoast Republican backbencher,” but then proceeded to blast him, other Republicans and pretty much anyone who didn’t vote Obama in the entire state of South Carolina. Dowd went on to remind readers that South Carolina was the “state that fired the first shot of the Civil War.”
That happened in 1861, nearly 150 years ago. That’s what passes for current events in The New York Times.
This weekend the networks followed that racism theme, repeatedly asking Obama if his opponents were racist. Even Obama didn’t play ball. But racism was still the big issue for the media. They were unwilling to call Obama for his own self interest.
The best we can hope is that one day journalists will wise up and see Obama eye to I.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum and he can be seen on Foxnews.com’s “Strategy Room.”