Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Dispatches from ‘The Promise’: Media Edition

I’ve been reading Jonathan Alter’s The Promise – President Obama, Year One, and have come across a number of striking passages that have led me to spend much time ruminating on the monumental challenges President Obama faces in his attempt to pilot the ‘ship of state’ in the tumultuous political seas of the 21st century.


With your indulgence, I’d like to share a number of these passages in an on-going series. In particular, I’ll present snippets that have resonated with me. Some are shocking, some humorous, some awe-inspiring, some infuriating, but I hope you’ll find each of them as illuminating as I have.  

One such illumination comes in the middle of page 280, characterizing the woeful state of both the U.S. media establishment and education in America:

The United States had big challenges ahead in staying competetive, and much of the media, [President Obama] thought, was clueless about what was truly important. For instance, he noted that President Lee Myong Bak of South Korea, presiding over a “very competetive” economy, has said that his biggest problem in education was that Korean parents were too demanding and were insisting on importing English teachers so their kids could learn English in first grade instead of having to wait for second grade. This is what complacent America was up against. “And then I sit down with U.S. reporters, and the question they have for me, in Asia, is, ‘Have I read Sarah Palin’s book?'” At this point, the president shook his head, incredulous. “True. True story.”



  1. fogiv

    …I’m curious to see how others react to these snips, the topic they imply, and I hope we generate the kind of insightful and meandering discussions the Moose is famous for.

  2. historyfog

    I have never done this before.  I am the father of fog iv.  Having taught high school, and some college, for 31 years I feel comfortable commenting on what scares the crap out of me.  We have become a nation of totally intellectually lazy people. We, most anyway, have lost the desire to question anything.  If we need an opinion it is easier to turn on rush and, if we don’t like him, we can tune into ko and get get our canned opinions.  What scares me is americans acceptance of stupid and lazy people.  I am so glad I retired.

  3. DTOzone

    and the general sense I get from it is that he really isn’t happy. and it sorta ticks me off because I think if his liberal agitaters knew how it really was, they’d have his back.  

  4. historyfog

    poorly you say?????  I’m not sure that is how I would classify him.  This is America and everyone should have an opinion.  I would be really distressed if I agreed with pat buchanon.  I am really proud of my number one son and his mental acuity.

  5. spacemanspiff

    He usually comes out of lurk mode to welcome all new Moose.


    Welcome historyfog!


  6. you’ve picked there fogiv in every way to expose the sheer absurdity of the tragedy of much to the political establishment (oh and welcome to dad!). i lived in korea in the 90’s and i cannot tell you how detached from reality that question would be there either in context of your example or otherwise.

    i cannot stress this enough – i mean so removed that perhaps the koreans in the room were probably looking at one other and thinking that these miguk-saram’s were from another planet. indeed they would seem to be.

  7. And welcome to the Moose Big Daddy Fog.

    The Moose is a bit somnolent in the run up to the mid terms. In political cyberspace terms it’s in a mild hibernation I suspect, before galloping over the liberal blogosphere come the fall, and munching up information, ideas and the occasional troll.

    But where’s the next chapter.

    I’m waiting Foggettes!

  8. HappyinVT

    about the Obama Administration and the media, I figured I’d pop in a comment.

    Of course, everyone’s heard about the latest kerfuffle: the firing of Shirley Sherrod by Sec. Vilsack based on a video posted by known Conservative blogger and promoted by FNC.

    Breithbart has admitted that he was looking for some payback for the NAACP calling elements of the TPE racist.  So he posts a video of a woman speaking at an NAACP function who appears to make some racist remarks.  Of course the video is edited because it goes on to show that Ms. Sherrod realizes her mistake and ends up doing the right thing.

    But Vilsack decides to ask Ms. Sherrod to resign based on the video.  There’s zero evidence anyone bothered to talk to Ms. Sherrod or anyone who knows her beforehand.  No one bothered to look for an unedited video.  Instead some members of the administration decide to nip the story in the bud and try to show they are on top of things.  Oops!

    For an administration that talks like it holds cable news, and FNC in particular in quite low regard, it sure was quick to accept the “truth.”  I mean, really, given the whole situation with the NAACP resolution, the attempt to raise the issue of alleged New Black Panther voter intimidation, the history of Breithbart and ACORN who in the Hell would jump that quickly to take anything he had to say seriously.

    Gibbs better be prepared at the press briefing.  He needs to take some members of the media to task but he needs to make sure the administration has looked in the mirror, too.


    (You did say meandering discussion)

    What President Obama inherited when he took office reminds me of the show Hoarders.

    You are tasked with cleaning up someone’s house only to discover that the house is literally bulging at the seams with the sheer volume of the “clutter”.  No worries though, because you have a team of people capable of cleaning up a mess that size in a fairly short time.  But there’s a wrinkle:  the hoarder is present and has a say in everything that is removed from the house.  The hoarder resists efforts every step of the way, gets highly emotional over his beer can collection/her old clothes, etc. and has to be cajoled and co-erced to remove even 25% of the mess.

    Anybody else see the similarity?  Every government agency was malfunctioning, all industries had been deregulated, oversight was non-existent, yet the mess still had to be cleaned up.

  10. GMFORD

    @historyfog —  Hi newbie!  Your son has been doing you proud in the blogosphere.

    @fogiv — Your diary (with photo) makes me want to give our President a hug. 😉

  11. creamer

     Vilsack or his office fucked up. Reacted to quickly trying to remove a distraction from the Presidents agenda.

    Everyone’s apologized, move on.

    Yes Fox was creating an narrative, and Gibbs did not call them out yesterday. I seem to remember Obama being lampooned and critizied the last time he critizied Fox by name. He was giving too much “prestige” to Fox, or lowering the office, etc.etc.

    Now, Sherrod wants to speak to the President about the south, is doing the morning talk shows, and while seeming to accept apologys, doesn’t want her job back. Whats next, a book deal or a lawsuit? Maybe a lecture tour for 4 or 5 figures a pop.

    At some point somone might need to tell her to get over it or get over herself. (Wow did I say that outloud. Am I without any empathy?)

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