The media's approach to Obama does not resemble their approach to any living President, but its parallels can only be found in the Russian press' approach to Putin or the Iraqi press' approach to Saddam Hussein. It's not bias, it's a cult of personality.
Key to this cult of personality is the omnipresence of Obama. In totalitarian states, the dictator is everywhere. His life is always front and center, his recreation and hobbies are major news items, his day to day existence is meant to be the focus of your life.
It is an ominous development in a Democratic country, but not an unexpected one. The goal of this constant coverage is to deepen the one way emotional bond the "people" experience with Obama. Like a deity, the cult of personality is meant to create the sense that the Beloved Leader's life is deeply connected to yours.
The coverage involved is often trivial. Take for example, Putin's karate, his hunting, stories on how many women admire him or his skiing prowess. On the surface it seems innocuous, until you realize that it creates a cult figure who is somehow omnipresent. The dictator as celebrity is a cultural Moloch figure, meant only to be worshiped and adored.
It is the very triviality of the coverage that characterizes a cult of personality. Obama coverage is not simply filed under politics. It is everywhere. In the sports section, under music, under everything.
On the Yahoo front page we learn that there are nano sized images of Obama now being created.
At the University of Michigan, professor John Hart has used nanotechnology to create images of Barack Obama, the next president of the United States. Each Obama face is made up of 150 million vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes grown at really high temperatures and imaged with a scanning electron microscope.
In another article we learn about a massive beach sculpture of Obama. He truly is everywhere, great and small. Kim Jong Il can only look on in envy.
In the sports section of the New York Times, there is a scouting report for Obama on athletic heads of state, decorated with a photo of Obama playing basketball. Putin's athleticism naturally is highlighted in the article. The multimedia photo edition begins with Castro. Naturally.
Meanwhile the Arts section of the Chicago Tribune wonders whether Obama will restore Jazz to the White House.
The TriCities editor apologizes because the newspaper's Obama victory edition had too small a photo of Obama.
Unfortunately, we don’t get a second chance to put out a Nov. 5, 2008, front page. And while we wanted that one – a keepsake that documented Barack Obama’s historic presidential win – to be a masterpiece, we fell short in the estimation of several readers, despite our best intentions.The criticism: The Obama photo was too small.The blame is mine to shoulder because it was my job to ensure our front page conveyed the heft associated with such a monumental event in U.S. history.
You expect to read things like this in Soviet papers, editors apologizing and admitting blame for insufficiently groveling to the Beloved Leader, but what's old is new again. And Democracy and the Democratic tradition of leaders we question, rather than kneel before, is out as well.
Headlines everywhere compare him to Lincoln and Kennedy and FDR. Another headline asks, "Where Were You When Obama Was Elected?" A third headline, "Historians, Too, Call Obama Victory “Monumental”.
A fourth headline, From congressmen to coeds, positive reactions to Obama. A fifth headline, "Confessions of a McCain Voter". Can the reeducation camps be far behind?
This is not political coverage, it is not even political bootlicking, but hysterical adoration. A true cult of personality for a man who has accomplished nothing to merit any of it. But then tyrants never do, that is why they need a cult of personality in the first place.
Men of accomplishment don't need hysterical followers, mass adoration and media managed worship. It is the human failures and the corrupt, who know exactly how little they're worth, who require it. The Stalins, the Hitlers, the Kim Jong Ils. Their secret fear is of discovery and exposure, that the mask will be ripped away and the little boy will cry, "The Emperor is Naked".
And so the cult of personality is born to cover up for the inadequacies of the sociopathic fraud who knows his own worthlessness and requires mass adoration to conceal it. But to the men and women who can see all that the cult of personality affirms is that the emperor is indeed naked.