The inauguration of a president is a major event, both globally and nationally. Media of every kind is saturated with its coverage; magazines, newspapers, blogs and websites feature the story in BOLD headlines and above-the-fold larger-than-usual images as a nod to the true sense of grand history playing out. It’s BIG NEWS, preempting regular programming everywhere and offering minute-by-minute coverage of the day’s events on every website, cable news network, radio talk show … everywhere. Because the inauguration of the President is a reverent, historical moment for every citizen living in the proud, democratic country of the United States of America.
Well, if you tend to get your news and commentary exclusively from right wing media, it’s likely you wouldn’t have even known anything unusual was going on today. It appears that in keeping with their goal to not only manipulate the news (i.e., the 2012 Election) but pretend news isn’t news unless it’s news they agree with or promotes their agenda, the inauguration was a literal “non-item” on most higher-profile right wing blogs and websites. Which might explain why Fox viewers, for example, are less informed than people who watch no news at all. But regardless of media manipulation, can the right wing media really believe they’re doing their viewers a favor by simply not reporting major news events?
Beyond party politics, journalistic integrity is missing here. News is news, whether you agree with it or not. Ethical journalists report what happens; some put their political spin on it (we certainly do here at Addicting Info!), but it’s reported, with facts in hand and truth in details. It would be more admirable of these conservative media sources to write scathing editorials, sharp commentary, or opposing perspective on a news event rather than not reporting on it at all; some of the right-leaning sites below did some measure of that. But you might be surprised to see how the most popular conservative pundits covered it!
Following is the Inaugural Day coverage offered by five of the highest profile conservative media news sources, followed by five of the the top more liberal media sources.
INAUGURATION COVERAGE FROM THE RIGHT:
Joel B. Pollack @ Breitbart “Second Inaugural Address: Obama Declares War On Liberty As We Know It”
Sounding the same themes of class warfare that propelled his re-election campaign, President Barack Obama devoted his second inaugural address to laying out his second term agenda: a struggle to undo the seeming injustices of America’s past, and to overcome the army of straw men that stand in opposition to progress. In the process, President Obama attempted nothing less than an assault on the timeless notion of liberty itself.
Okay, that’s about what you’d expect from a Breitbart writer. At least he wrote something.
Jonathan M. Seidl @ The Blaze “Obama Slightly Flubs Inaugural Oath”
While repeating the oath of office during Monday’s public swearing-in ceremony, President Barack Obama had trouble spitting out some of the words.
During the part where he was supposed to say “will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States,” Obama cut off the last portion, choked on his words a little, and then shook his head. This story has been updated to correct an earlier version that said Chief Justice John Roberts did not say “the” while saying “president of the United States” during his administration of the oath.It remains unclear, then, what exactly threw the president off while he was reciting the words.
It would be one thing if this was just one of a panoply of stories covering the day, but I didn’t see much else on Glenn Beck’s site, other than the vaulting of this sniggering, anecdote into “featured” status. Lame.
I’m putting an image here because, on the day of the President’s Inauguration, Sean’s featured story on his Home page was, “Stop USTA, National Junior Tennis Tournament Changes.” There was another story from December about “What Does Christmas Mean To You?” and a few pieces on gun control….nothing on the Inauguration. NOTHING.
Drudge had a link to a Washington Times article about the calorie count of the Inaugural lunch; he linked to another piece from Politico about Joan Rivers not liking Michelle Obama’s new hair-do; had a blurb from Bloomberg about a Tweet Obama personally sent from the church, but, most tellingly, nothing about the Inauguration itself. Drudge did, however, tweet from his Twitter page about a debunked story (covered in Daily Kos) about Obama’s middle name, Hussein, being dropped from the oath. Oh, and he does have a crappy photo of Obama with the words “1461 More Days” (which likely will change as the days go by). BIG news day for the right.
Nothing…NOTHING on the Inauguration except for an insipid blurb about how he’ll miss seeing Beyoncé because he won’t be attending the event (I bet that kept Beyoncé up!).
Wait, as a bonus, I have to share a little Bill O’Reilly:
Featured story? A FREE copy of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence! That’s the headline piece on Inaugural Day. (I think there is a link somewhere that goes to some Obama coverage somewhere else….)
THEN THERE’S THE OTHER SIDE:
Michael Tomasky @The Daily Beast: “Can Obama Become Our Reagan?”
Barack Obama’s speech was elegantly pugnacious, a fine articulation of civic-republican liberalism and a very clear statement of a political agenda, with its specific mentions of climate change and inequality and other concerns. As others have noted, it was his most openly liberal speech as president, and it tells us what he aiming for in term two. He wants to do for liberalism (without using the word of course; we’re still not at that point yet) what Ronald Reagan did for conservatism. And he can—but only if he understands and acts on the differences between his situation and Reagan’s, and not their similarities.
Irin Carmon @ Salon: “The Inauguration of Struggle“:
The people onstage at the Inauguration today, in spirit and in person, have always been a part of history in one form another, if you knew where to look and did the work. They’ve just never been this visible, nor this powerful. A grandiose ceremony like an inauguration is about visibility as much as it is about repeating foundational rhetoric. Barack Obama’s second inauguration explicitly made the argument that not only did all those citizens — female and queer and brown and immigrant and belonging to different generations — belong there, but that they had come there through a necessary struggle to make all of America what it promised to be.
Armando @ Daily Kos: “Mainstreaming Progressive Values: President Obama’s Path to a Transformative Presidency”
President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address was, for my money, his finest speech ever. Of course, actions speak louder than words, but words matter. And they matter a lot. In his reporting after the president’s speech, Chuck Todd discussed statements made to him by Obama aides to the effect that the president now sees as part of his job the “mainstreaming” of progressive values. His Second Inaugural Address is a great start to this project.
Too many articles to choose from, everything from those booing Paul Ryan and John Boehner tearing up (what’s new?), to “Obama Makes History” and how his speech “denounces income inequality.” Below is a screen shot of their Home page. Clearly, they had it covered.
John Dickerson @ Slate: “A Liberal Love Letter”
In 2009, Barack Obama’s inauguration was a civil rights turning point. In his 2013 inaugural address, he sang the song of America’s civil rights progress. He talked about how the growing support for the rights of women, African-Americans, and gays affirmed the essential promise in the Declaration of Independence. At a time when Washington seems so tiny you could fit it into your pocket, he asked everyone to look up from their Twitter feed to see how much had changed around them.
There you have it; ten different media sources – with the bonus of O’Reilly – with ten very different with little different takes on Inauguration Day. Little needs to be said to point out the profound disparity in their coverage. It’s one thing to hold an opposing view; it’s another to deny history in the making, dismiss a major event as “not important enough to cover;” show cultural disrespect and disconnect by ignoring something as monumental as the inauguration of the President.
It’s not only a disservice to one’s viewers, it’s an abdication of the responsibility of a journalist. But then again … maybe that’s the dividing line. That “journalist” part.