Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Obama Inauguration

The Obama Inauguration went about as well as any other inauguration. Other than a stumble in the wording of the oath of office, I thought the ceremony was well planned and executed. The parade started a little later than usual but there were some circumstances beyond anyone's control, like Ted Kennedy's issue. What I thought went poorly was the news coverage of the event. The over-the-top coverage and lavish words heaped upon the incoming president reeked of partisan hackery.

Perhaps the worst offender that I saw was none other than NBC's Tom Brokaw. In describing the jubilation of the crowd, Brokaw likened it to the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. He quantified his remarks by saying that we weren't overthrowing a communist regime but an unpopular president was leaving office and "there's that same sense of joyfulness and possibility."

I took offense at Brokaw's comments. Sure, most would agree (including myself) that it is time for a new leader. And there should be jubilation at the change of power. But not because we are overthrowing some dictorial regime. Instead that jubilation should come from the fact that in the United State, the transfer of power is peaceful and respectful. Whether it is Obama or McCain or Bush or Clinton taking office, all Americans should celebrate the fact such changes in power can occur without bloodshed. I hardly believe that Brokaw would make such a comment if it were McCain taking office yesterday. Instead, he would be sure to point out an decisiveness that remained in the country.

All media coverage that I saw yesterday acted as though Obama is the candidate the entire nation wanted and everyone in America is happy to see him take the oath. Obviously, that is not true. There are nearly 50% of Americans who did not vote for Obama and believe that the direction in which he wants to lead is the wrong direction. But, once again, we do celebrate the fact that power changes hands in a democratic fashion. And I, who was not an Obama supporter, do hold hope that perhaps his plans will change the economic fortunes of this country in a positive manner. But to act as though Obama is the only voice for this country is deceiving and downright false. But I digress...

I did want to watch the full Inaugural Parade last evening but I couldn't stand watching because the commentators would not shutup for one minute. You couldn't hear the bands over the on-air personalities who believed they must fill every second of the broadcast with their mundane observations and perspectives on the events. They wanted to remind the viewers non-stop that they were witnessing history and then they wanted to put their perspective on history. If there were only one channel that would have broadcast the parade without commentary, that is certainly where my remote would have landed me. Instead, I watched the typical Seinfeld episodes that I would watch any other evening, apparenly missing history in the making.

And, now, just a few other observations:
  • BBC America may have had the best coverage. It was fair and interesting. I enjoyed the comparisons they made to our counterparts in Great Britain and the multiple traditions we inherited from our former Mother Country.
  • Al Roker attempting to get an interview with Obama was amusing.
  • The Carters and the Clinton snubbing one another may have been the highlight of all inaugural events. That, of course, followed the love-fest between Bill and George I in the hall.
  • I thought Rick Warren's invocation was very well written and delivered. All that outcry for nothing.
  • I'm about sick of the Lincoln / Obama comparisons. Those comparisons should only be made after Obama has actually performed some duty. To this point, he has made no official act as president and anyone proclaiming Obama a great president solely on his race is doing a disservice to everyone.

I think that's all I can think of at the moment. Basically, I was just highly disappointed with the coverage. Maybe Fox's coverage was better but I can't get Fox in high-definition. CBS and ABC seemed lost. I don't get CNN in high-def but I can't stand CNN anyway so it didn't matter. We'll see how things look a week, month and year from now. Hopefully all the celebrations are still going on...but I somehow doubt it.


Anonymous said...

Let the media have their fun. The honeymoon will end soon.

Tina said...

And all you wanted to do was listen to the utterly depressing...