Barack Obama’s former political strategist, David Axelrod, has released a book. ‘Believer: My Forty Years in Politics’ and in it, he reveals something pretty striking about the then Senator’s position on gay marriage. He publicly claimed to be opposed to it.
Axelrod writes that he knew Obama was in favor of same-sex marriages during the first presidential campaign, even as Obama publicly said he only supported civil unions, not full marriages. Axelrod also admits to counseling Obama to conceal that position for political reasons. “Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church, and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union,’ ” Axelrod writes.
Naturally, a politician lying about a position on an issue is nothing new under the sun. The obvious problem question to be asked is, “Where was the media in 2008?”
Before anybody gets too excited, there’s nothing to suggest this would have changed any of the results from 2008, either in the primary or general election. But at a time when the media was able to dig up a a book banning “scandal” involving Sarah Palin and her time as the Mayor of Wasilla, it’s hard to imagine the media couldn’t find conflicting statements about Obama’s position on gay marriage.
In this case, the media simply did not do their job. Because they didn’t want to.
It’s amusing watching members of the media fill themselves up with righteous indignation when they are accused of being soft on President Obama, particularly during the campaigns of 2008 and 2012. This is a perfect example. They were so caught up in the hype and wonder of this young Senator who was going to “change the world” that they paid no attention to the fact that he was lying through his teeth about gay marriage.
What’s worse the press failing to exercise their due diligence in 2008, is that it allowed the President to promote the lie in 2012 that his position on gay marriage had “evolved.” How can something evolve when you always believed it?
Of course, Obama defenders will argue that his position was the correct one the entire time and this is much ado about nothing. They’re right because this is not about President Obama or his lying. It’s well established he lies.
This is about the media and their total abdication of their responsibility to see if a candidate’s claims match their record or any previous statements. I find it difficult to believe Senator Obama made zero statements about his views on gay marriage prior to his announcing he would run for President.
How difficult would it have been to be a reporter traveling with the campaign to think to themselves, “The Senator claims he doesn’t support gay marriage, only civil unions. Let’s check that against his record and past statements.” This was 2008, not 1978. They weren’t going to have to trudge down to a library and pour through microfiche articles all day long.
The next time a reporter gets pissy on Twitter about their lack of fairness when covering Democratic politicians, point them to this example and ask them if they were lazy, incompetent or just didn’t care.