January 29, 2008

Media Still Trying to Martyr Obama

We've covered this ground before. For reasons they will not openly disclose, media worldwide are hooked on the possibility that Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama will be assassinated.

As noted by Mark Finkelstein this morning on Newsbusters, Early Show anchor Harry Smith broached the subject again in a conversation with Senator Ted Kennedy:

HARRY SMITH: When you see that enthusiasm [for Obama] though, and when you see the generational change that seems to be taking place before our eyes, does it make you at all fearful?

Kennedy understandably had no idea what Smith was driving at, and gave an innocuous answer about people's desire for "a new day and a new generation." But Smith's follow-up left no real doubt as to what he had in mind.

SMITH: I just, I think what I was trying to say is, sometimes agents of change end of being targets, as you well know, and that was why I was asking if you were at all fearful of that.

When you tell a man with Ted Kennedy's family history that "you well know" about politicians becoming "targets," the implication is unmistakable.

I'll send you over to the Newsbusters post to see how Kennedy responded, but after you read that, ask yourself this: What basis did Harry Smith have for making his remarks?

Such vague media assertions of a possible targeting of Obama have been occurring for over a year, and yet, when we actually look for evidence of such claims, they seem to have little or no merit other than other media accounts.

I've no doubt that somewhere in the world there are those that would rather see Barack Obama dead than President, but the media has failed, in each an every instance, to provide support for this apparently evergreen claim. They recycle the charge, again and again, merely by "knowing" that someone must hate him.

I know that I am certainly getting tired of their attempts to assert a mortal threat against one of the more likable people (politics aside) in this race, and wonder why more bloggers have not yet castigated the media for recycling the possibility of a threat again and again, perhaps goading an unstable person to act upon them.

This needs to stop.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 29, 2008 10:44 AM

And yet they never seem to notice the scores of actual threats (and implied threats) against Bush and Cheney. I guess threats from the left don't count.

Posted by: buzz at January 29, 2008 01:44 PM

It stops here.

Posted by: g edward at January 29, 2008 01:44 PM

"Sometimes agents of change end up being targets"
like Kennedy and Reagan, but on the other hand even total zeros like Ford and Carter got shot at.

President is a high risk job no matter who holds it. This is total BS.

As to where the press gets it from... doesn't Barack's wife Michelle keep talking about it?

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at January 29, 2008 01:46 PM

Wow the media making ridiculous hype over nothing! What a surprise....Wake up.

Posted by: JBH at January 29, 2008 01:50 PM

The sad fact is, disasters of all kinds fuel the media economically. Bad news sells. If you want to marginalize those who try to grow their own bad news, stop patronizing them.

Posted by: Bo McIlvain at January 29, 2008 01:56 PM

Does Teddy's endorsement open the gates for a drunken vehicle swimming accident?

Posted by: DirtCrashr at January 29, 2008 02:02 PM

This is just one of the more subtle ways the media manipulates people's sympathies. The insular media elite don't actually want Obama to be martyred. They want people to support him even more, if only out of outrage that his life may be in danger because of whatever they think he stands for.

These "warnings" are deliberate.

Posted by: David Preiser at January 29, 2008 02:03 PM

I will tell you - I am typing simultaneously with the lightbulb of inspiration going off, so this idea is utterly unvetted, but... the "Obama will be assassinated" is all part of the great 60's nostalgia that also helped power the anti-war movement.

The same folks who wish they could been there for the Vietnam protests secretly wish they could experience some national, soul-searing event like a Kennedy (or Kennedy, or King) assassination happen in their lifetime.

For such folks, Obama is perfect. And that answers the commenter who asked about Bush/Cheney - obviously, to this special type of imagination, someone whacking either of those two would not transport us back to the glorious 60's.

Just popped into my head, but I like it.

Posted by: Tom Maguire at January 29, 2008 02:08 PM

Stop writing about this crap, and it stops being written about. Just stop it.

Posted by: A.S. at January 29, 2008 02:09 PM

Just another branch of the "fake but accurate" tree.

Posted by: rastajenk at January 29, 2008 02:12 PM

I think underneath it is also the assumption that the racists will literally kill to keep him from being president. And I am not sure he is 100% wrong. Hate is real, and just because 99% of the american people would be cool with him as president, doesn't quite make it 100%. And as we saw on 9-11 or in the OKC bombing, even a handful of idiots can do alot of damage.

It's like an early line in the original season of 24. Bauer starts looking into concerns for the then-senator, and someone says, "they'll say you are doing it because he is black."

And Bauer responds, "it IS because he is black. He is much more likely to be a target."

I'm an optimist when it comes to American race relations, but Bauer is right.

Posted by: A.W. at January 29, 2008 02:22 PM

The MSM is well known for being in the hip pocket of the Clintons. We have seen this campaign descend in to the depths of racial bigotry pushed mainly by "HillBilly". It would not surprise me one bit to see someone track these vague assertions down and find Bill or Hillery’s finger prints all over them.

Posted by: Ross at January 29, 2008 02:24 PM

I'm glad its just about politicans who use the word 'change' a lot and not a race thing.

Posted by: Thomas at January 29, 2008 02:29 PM

Tom McGuire wrote: "The same folks who wish they could been there for the Vietnam protests secretly wish they could experience some national, soul-searing event like a Kennedy (or Kennedy, or King) assassination happen in their lifetime."

Uh... there was one in their lifetime....I'm sure you remember the events of September 11, 2001.

Posted by: Jacknut at January 29, 2008 02:32 PM

Don't you know that Republicans are racist? Of course they will kill Obama if its a possibility he will be elected president.


Seriously, most conservatives just think liberals are misguided. However, most liberals think conservatives are bad people. Of course they'd kill a black president. That's they kind of stuff they do....


Posted by: Tom at January 29, 2008 02:33 PM

His risk would go WAY up if Hillary was his VP pick. I wouldn't sell him insurance at any price in that case.

Posted by: Mike O at January 29, 2008 02:37 PM


I'm sure you remember the events of September 11, 2001.
That one doesn't count because it was all our fault.

Posted by: Old Grouch at January 29, 2008 02:40 PM

I think underneath it is also the assumption that the racists will literally kill to keep him from being president. And I am not sure he is 100% wrong.

If there is a real threat to Obama's life it isn't racists, and it goes away once the nomination is divided. Where would this threat come from?

Hint #1: Jim MacDougal

Hint #2: Vince Foster

Yeah, this is tin-foil-hat territory, but at least it has some basis in fact and/or legend, unlike the "racist assassissin" speculation which is based on ... what exactly?

Posted by: Ralph Phelan at January 29, 2008 02:42 PM

Yeah, Jacknut, you're right, but 9-11 doesn't count as "soul-searing" to the neo-hips because 3000 ordinary people were killed, not 1 liberal icon. :-P

Posted by: Mary in LA at January 29, 2008 02:42 PM

I remember that sort of talk in 1980 or thereabouts when Ted Kennedy himself was running for the Democratic nomination. It was such a prevalent meme that we were talking about it in my elementary school class.

Posted by: Seerak at January 29, 2008 02:44 PM

Wrote about this a while ago, Bob. It's partly 60's template, partly because they're such damn drama queens.

Posted by: the anchoress at January 29, 2008 03:01 PM

I think that David and Tom (among others) have the idea exactly right. The media isn't actually trying to get someone to kill Obama; they just want everyone who votes for Obama to feel like they're voting for a hero, a gen-you-wine HERO! We can bask in that reflected glory, and tell ourselves that we were Part Of It, we were the ones who helped Obama stand up against the murky forces of oppression--who are always out there! We must ever be vigilant! We must always be watchful!

It's funny that the same people who tell you that the "terrorist Muslim threat" is just a fake scare-tactic by the Republicans will then turn around and tell you that White Racist Conservatives are probably planning to shoot Obama. We don't know who or where they are, but they are Out There.

Posted by: DensityDuck at January 29, 2008 03:03 PM


That was the working assumption at first. It was shown to be false. Sen. Palmer was not a target because of his race.

Posted by: soccer dad at January 29, 2008 03:14 PM

"For reasons they will not openly disclose, media worldwide are hooked on the possibility that Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama will be assassinated."

I think I can clarify their reasons. Here is what the journalists are really saying:

"If it looks like he can win, Obama might be assassinated. Wouldn't that be AWESOME? Our circulation figures and ratings would go through the ROOF! . . . Oops, did I say 'awesome'? Sorry, I meant 'terrible'. Wouldn't that be TERRIBLE?"

Posted by: Pat at January 29, 2008 03:15 PM

But what if Obama was killed by a Muslim nutcase who thought he was apostate, or some other idiot reason? Then what would the media do?

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at January 29, 2008 03:36 PM

Funny how all these assassination attempts and race card pulling are coming from liberals.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at January 29, 2008 03:41 PM

You mean like Sirhan Sirhan?

Posted by: Korla Pundit at January 29, 2008 03:56 PM

>But what if Obama was killed by a Muslim nutcase

You mean like Sirhan Sirhan?

Posted by: Korla Pundit at January 29, 2008 03:57 PM

"But what if Obama was killed by a Muslim nutcase who thought he was an apostate...?"

Someone at Kos would discover that said Muslim nutcase had once voted on a Diebold machine and connect the dots, concluding inevitably that the assassination had been conducted by "neocons." Two weeks later it would be considered common knowledge in the lefty Blogosphere. Congressional hearings would follow.

Posted by: smaack at January 29, 2008 03:59 PM

Oh, and the muslim nutcase would be cited as an example of what happens when conservative religious extremists are not suppressed.

Posted by: smaack at January 29, 2008 04:02 PM

It's wishful thinking with the lefties.... they are extremely mentally disturbed. Not trying to be funny. It's just a sad fact that they would rather see hate, death and destruction. They thrive on it. Very very sick people.

Posted by: Hogtrashhd at January 29, 2008 04:09 PM

Personally, I think they all have some medieval idea that Obama is Kennedy-like and that his death would bring back the Summer of Love.

Posted by: Tucson Tarheel at January 29, 2008 04:10 PM

Don't pass up the chance! Buy the rights to the website name, "Obamatruth" RIGHT NOW!!!

Posted by: DaveP. at January 29, 2008 04:20 PM

In high school, I remember having a conversation with one of my older, liberal classmates who claimed that the next target of "them" was Mario Cuomo. Good thing Cuomo never ran for president, 'cause it would have happened. Or not.

Posted by: Klug at January 29, 2008 04:50 PM

Mario Cuomo??? Hahahaha! And Dukakis afterwards? Hahahaha!

Posted by: DirtCrashr at January 29, 2008 05:52 PM

Maybe it's because Obama is standing in the way of the Clintons' third term, and the MSM knows what happens to those that get in Bill and Hill's way.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 29, 2008 06:07 PM

I agree that making the media that suggestion in an interview is pretty strange. That said, I have talked to black people who are afraid that this will happen to Obama, and have mentioned it as a reason they are afraid of supporting him.

Posted by: Will at January 29, 2008 06:27 PM

I have been a conservative for decades and I lnow no one on the Right that has anywhere near the friends, associates and partners dead as do the Clintons. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Peter at January 29, 2008 06:30 PM

C'mon, they are small and pathetic these days, but it only takes one crazy, and we all know it could happen.

Read what they said about Obama at this anti-Jena 6, anti-MLK Day march, where they chanted, "If it ain't white, it ain't right."

One member of the Nationalist Party used a noose as a leash for walking his dog. David Dupre of Tioga, La., displayed a .22-caliber revolver in the left-breast pocket of his military fatigue jacket, and a noose dangled off a knife strapped to his right leg. His son David Jr., meanwhile, entertained questions on the presidential race. Asked by the Intelligence Report what would he thought would happen if Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) were elected, the younger Dupre didn’t hesitate. “He’d catch a bullet. He’d get picked off before he’d even take the oath” because “he’s tied to the Arabs and the Muslims” and “Saddam Hussein wants him in office.” Both father and son were armed with “street sweeper” shotguns until Jena Police Chief Paul Smith told them he wouldn’t allow them to march unless they left the 12-gauge weapons in their vehicle, according to The Associated Press.

Posted by: john doe at January 29, 2008 06:45 PM

There's no doubt in my mind that many in the media are weirdly and reprehensibly overexcited about the prospect of an Obama assassination (and probably about what they suppose that prospect says about the American public). But the Secret Service did in fact grant him a security detail last May in response to what may or may not have been actual threats. This is said to have been the earliest-ever such protection for a candidate. See for example:

Posted by: j-lil at January 29, 2008 07:18 PM

Suppose it were a disgruntled Clintonista who got whipped into a lather and waxed the O-man and not some "right wing whacko"?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at January 29, 2008 07:58 PM

Purp, in that case there would be two things happen immediately:
1- The perp's background and political beliefs would simply disappear down the memory hole, just like Sirhan's and Oswald's did. Check question: In all of your years, do you remember anyone in journalism or in academia actually pointing out that Oswald was a pro-Castro Communist or that Sirhan was an Arab nationalist? I have actually heard the Kennedy assassination blamed on Republicans...
2- There would be an immediate call for a total ban on handguns, no matter how the assassination took place and no matter if the hitter was actually a member of the Brady organization. The cry would be, "No More Obamas!" and it would start before the body had even been placed on a stretcher.

Posted by: DaveP. at January 29, 2008 10:10 PM

Speculating about an Obama assassination is fun for the press partly because, as Tom Maguire says, it's a chance to replay the sixties.

But I'm sure another reason is that it fits the narrative of an America still torn by its irredeemably racist past. To fit the narrative, it'd be a tragedy but it should happen, to be right. In fact, it needs to happen, otherwise their worldview trembles.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at January 29, 2008 10:59 PM

Kill Obama if he gets elected? No.

Kill myself if Obama gets elected? Maybe.

Posted by: Pablo at January 29, 2008 11:58 PM

B Hussein Obama is still returning dirty money he took from Renzo. Will he also return the house and extra lot or donate it to charity? Na, he's as much a criminal as Renzo, just hasn't got caught, yet.

Posted by: Scrapiron at January 30, 2008 12:00 AM

One of B Hussein Obama's black friends may whack him to get it the history books as something other than a welfare rider and then again he had better watch out for Shrillary's gang.

Posted by: Scrapiron at January 30, 2008 12:03 AM

It's a government conspiracy, dude!

Posted by: bigdogdaddy at January 30, 2008 08:57 AM