"I'm going to have a basic cheddar cheese burger, medium well, with mustard. . . . You got a spicy mustard or something like that, or a Dijon mustard, something like that?"
-- Barack Obama, May 5, 2009
"The reaction proved one thing I already knew: The cult of personality surrounding Obama is real. And many of the cultists are demented, dangerous or both."
-- William Jacobson, May 8, 2009
Congratulations to Professor Jacobson. Traffic at his Legal Insurrection blog, which was about 37,000 visits in February, surged to more than 107,000 in just two days Thursday and Friday, because he dared to point out how dishonest news coverage has become.
The point was not that Obama likes Dijon mustard -- I do, too, as does the man who named it "DijonGate" -- but rather that MSNBC and other major media are no longer in the news business. They're doing public relations for the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.
What was the purpose of Obama and Joe Biden going to Ray's Hell-Burger in Arlington, Va.? It was a photo-op, to show O and Joe bein' Regular Guys, standin' in line, eatin' some burgers.
Obviously, reporters didn't think "Dijon mustard" fit the narrative the White House wanted, and so they fudged the quote -- and NBC even edited its own video -- to omit the offensive French phrase. Jacobson pointed this out, and it was like showing a Rorshach inkblot to Charles Manson.
Obama Mustard Attack Becomes Full-Blown Right-Wing Talking Point
-- Huffington Post
Ivy League Professor Wingnut Pens Masterpiece About Dijon MustardDijon Derangement Syndrome: Conservative media attack Obama for burger order
-- Media Matters
Why was the reaction so hideously overblown? Gateway Pundit, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and others were just doing the same thing they did with John Kerry's ill-fated wind-surfing vacation or any number of other incidents in which prominent Democrats act in ways that conflict with their populist rhetoric.
A burger at Ray's Hell-Burger costs $6.95, so lunch at the Arlington restaurant isn't exactly the value menu at Mickey D's. If the White House believed they could show Obama as a Regular Guy by having him eat at a place where the burgers are seven bucks, maybe they need to work on their definition of populism.
Jacobson's posts, however, pointed out how news organizations were actively involved in the image-shaping function of the Obama P.R. machine. It would be like learning that Fox News provided the "Mission Accomplished" banner at Bush's famous 2003 aircraft-carrier event.
Exposure of the media role in the Obama phenomenon is what the Left fears most because, at some level, they understand that if the press were ever to report honestly on what the Democrats are doing, the game would change. So the Obama cultists, accustomed to only fawning coverage of their Leader, react with fury when the fawning coverage is demonstrated to be dishonest.
Obama's high level of public support is largely a product of his positive image the media have crafted. "DijonGate" exposed how this image-making role is played. And therefore William Jacobson is denounced as a "wing-nut" pushing "right-wing talking points."
Of course, there are no "left-wing talking points," and if you dare suggest that Media Matters and Huffington Post are participating in an orchestrated propaganda effort -- perhaps organized by Astroturf king David Axelrod -- this only proves you are a "wing nut."
UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! My second 'Lanche this weekend. I suspect Professor Reynolds was watching what I was watching -- Ross Douthat doing "Q&A" on C-SPAN -- and thought to himself, "If I don't hit him now, there'll be another raving manic e-mail at 4 a.m."
Damned callow pretentious Harvard boy prattling on about Chesterton and Christopher Lasch and skinny-dipping with Buckley . . . well, never mind all that now. The raven's calling your name, Douthat!
UPDATE II: Paco quotes . . . Lionel Trilling? What the hell? Has everybody gone all Douthat on me? "As Jeanne Kirkpatrick once said to Daniel Patrick Moynihan . . . ."
Barack Obama dildo. And what would Jeanne Kirkpatrick have to say about that, huh?
UPDATE III: Hey, remember when John Edwards was the liberal media's idol?UPDATE IV: The Left won't let it go, will they?