Update added below.
My dad, a staunch conservative and McCain man, left me a shocking voicemail Wednesday morning—it celebrated Barack Obama. He said in part:
I am pleased [with the results]. I hope that your generation is excited about this; it looks like you are. And I think that this is a real good thing for the country to get some ownership of it, by supporting a candidate who is going to come forward with some changes that you want. I think it’s good; I think it’s time us old farts step aside and let this new generation show us how things should be done.
I’m still in disbelief.
His message got me thinking. If my old man can feel this positive toward Obama then what about the conservative TV pundits he watches every night. The men who make a living trashing Democrats and extolling Republican virtues (at least on air).
Are they smitten—or at least open-minded—by an Obama administration? Let’s take a quick look.
Fox News’s Sean Hannity said Nov. 5 that although he still frets about Obama’s decades-long association with radicals, he wishes the president well.
“I want him to succeed," he said. "There’s too much at stake here,” Hannity later added, “I think this is great for the country [to have an African-American president].”
Hannity’s remarks contrast sharply with those of Rush Limbaugh, who said of Obama supporters: “There was no substance to the people electing him.” That remark only scratches the surface of Limbaugh’s venom. Take a look at this comment from his radio broadcast after the election.
I've got a picture of these hordes outside the White House carrying a Soviet flag. There's a picture of the Soviet flag, and I was hoping, I was hoping these hordes would storm the White House grounds. I know it's not possible with all the security they got there, but I was hoping these Obama hordes would somehow storm the White House fence. That would have been so cool.
And then this one, which closed his broadcast.
And furthermore, ladies and gentlemen, as I was saying, I hope you people in Ohio lose your coal industry; and I hope all your Joe the Plumbers are unemployed in six months! There.
Good to know Limbaugh would rather see the country fail than Obama succeed.
Bill O’Reilly congratulated Obama on his win and promised his show, The O’Reilly Factor, will ramp up its watchdog role. “Our oversight will be intense,” he said.
Is this the oversight he’s talking about?
I’d bet the farm that the pundits who strongly supported Bush and demonized his dissenters—Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly—will soon become the “watchdogs,” as O’Reilly suggested. The liberal pundits so proud of their unwavering criticism of President Bush and Fox News—namely Keith Olbermann—will become the presidential lap dogs.
It must happen. Otherwise, cable news would actually become an intelligent and civilized dialogue—that’s a change I can’t believe.
Update: Seems The New York Times cherry picked another story from Ragan. On Sunday, The Times ran a story about the way political rivals ease off each other after an election. Much like this PR Junkie post, it emphasized the sudden shift in tone from conservative pundits.
"But given the intensity of some of the charges that have been made in the past few months, and the historic nature of Mr. Obama’s election, the exercise this year has been particularly whiplash-inducing, with its extreme before-and-after contrasts," The Times reported.
Either this topic is part of the Zeitgeist, or The Times peruses PR Junkie for material. You decide.