Posted by rflacks on:
I don't about you but I'm increasingly irritated with the sheer laziness of media commentators. The Nobel peace prize controversy is an excellent case in point. Scott Simon's commentary on NPR Saturday typifies what I'm referring to. He lists a number of martyrs and heroes who haven't gotten the prize. He ended his piece:
"The president said yesterday: I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize. He deserves to be taken at his word."
The laziness here is the assumption that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee somehow lost sight of the purpose of the prize and must not have known what they were doing. Surely the journalist's first task is to read and understand the statements made by the committee and their expressed intent. That intent was to support and reinforce Obama's stated global policy perspective. They defined their purpose in this year to use the prize as a lever in propelling change. It seems possible that Scott Simon and others are in fact opposed to that change (since he, on the air, announced after 9/11 that he was no longer a Quaker pacifist; careful listeners have worried that he has become something of a neocon). It would be more honest to reveal that than to claim that the award was undeserved or that the Nobel, committee has somehow lost its bearings.
I think there was an additional motive in making this award. It isn't simply that Obama is the anti-Bush (as so many have said). It is that the world sees him as the target of hysterical and scary attack within the US. Perhaps the Nobel committee wanted to lend weight on the other side.
We are told that the prize decision was made early last week. So it may well be that the committee actually wanted to influence Obama's decision making re Afghanistan. In the realm of realpolitik, such an aim is horrendous-trying to tie the hands of the super power commander in chief so he will be reluctant to escalate a war. In the realm of human hope, however, perhaps the Nobel folks deserve thanks