Slum in NairobiI’m not one for blaming the press on this and the media on that. For one, I’m a member of the news media, and I believe my coverage is neutral when it’s not supposed to represent my opinion. I’m also not a tin foil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist, and I tend to be unenthusiastic about ‘bias in the media’ ideas. But this Washington Post piece of almost a month ago is very interesting on a story which the American press seem to have largely ignored, a fact which I think proves for me, a skeptic, that there is a significant media bias toward Obama.

About a month ago, it emerged that presidential candidate Barack Obama has a half brother living in a slum in Nairobi, Kenya on about 3 cents per day. George Obama is dirt poor, literally, and his half brother is rich and running for president of the most powerful nation on earth. Amazing:

Unearthed by Italian Vanity Fair and virtually ignored by the American press, the inconvenient George Obama could emerge as a compelling character in the freshman senator’s carefully edited road-to-the-White-House narrative – especially now that his campaign has unleashed a personal attack on Sen. John McCain’s station in life.

I’d be the last guy to assert that someone is responsible for seeing to it that all their siblings live as well as they do, even if that someone is a multimillionaire. We’re all individuals, and Obama can do what he likes with his money. But there are some facts which, all considered, make him a rank hypocrite. One of the most obvious, of course, is Obama’s wish to champion equity and egalitarianism, including his ideas of raising taxes to ensure redistribution of wealth for those purposes. And another is that he’s been attacking McCain on the grounds that he’s wealthy. Obama’s campaign chastised McCain for the fact that he couldn’t remember how many houses he owned when asked by a reporter, a clear appeal to his perceived aloofness from the American electorate and an encouragement of the whole ‘rich-people-can’t-identify-with-average-Americans’ feeling. Yet:

Someone who made $4.2 million last year and lives in a mansion that a mobster helped pay for should not be throwing stones. When Mr. Obama’s flesh-and-blood lives in squalor, raising the standard of living of his opponent’s extended family is probably not a smart idea.

It’s always amazed me that the wealthy are despised so much by all the very people who so aspire to be wealthy themselves. Still. The American press didn’t think this story was worth reporting. If that doesn’t raise your eyebrows, ponder a little further:

“Mr. McCain … would be publicly eviscerated if he funded an ad campaign called “12” – as in the amount of dollars a year Mr. Obama’s half-brother subsists on.”

Of course.

Does anyone think if Mr. McCain had a sibling living in a trailer park making minimum wage (892 times more than Mr. Obama’s half brother’s yearly income) that the mainstream media and the Obama campaign wouldn’t notice?


Yet Mr. Obama has a half brother who lives in Africa on three cents a day, and the story breaks in an Italian magazine and is picked up by a London newspaper and a few others in Australia. Perhaps the story would be carried widely in America if they could figure out how to blame President Bush. But as Bob Geldof pointed out, [Bush] “has done more [for Africa] than any other president,” and of the press harshly judged, “You guys didn’t pay attention.”

Who’s going to report that?

What makes this story newsworthy for Italians, Brits and Aussies, but not Americans, is that the U.S. free press is free to ignore stories that could take down their preordained president.

It’s hard to avoid exactly that conclusion. We don’t have a neutral media, people. That may not be such a bad thing if they’d just admit it; what’s aggravating is the insistence of those in the press that there is no such bias. I’m no conservative nor McCain advocate, but I do think we ought to have more honest reporters in America willing to put aside their Obama zeal to pick up stories like this on both candidates, or on neither.