Barack Obama is the most powerful man in America. And David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, is one of the most powerful figures in American journalism.
Not surprisingly, reviewers of Remnick’s new Presidential biography/doorstop, The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, have generally prostrated themselves before Remnick with the same shamelessness as the editor has prostrated himself before the politician in these 656 pages of humorless hagiography.
A biography of Santa Claus would be more hard-hitting than The Bridge, which confirms in exhaustive detail that, yes, Obama's life is, indeed, "a story of race and inheritance." Remnick, who is certainly a bright fellow, just makes himself seem obtuse as he constantly offers the most insipid rationalizations available of the outsized role that race has played in Obama’s choices. Political correctness makes you stupid.
The Bridge stands as a self-emasculated monument to the insidious costs of Access Journalism. Yes, Remnick scored a lot of interviews. The Bridge, for examples, ends with Remnick reverently interviewing his subject in the Oval Office about the meaning of his being in the Oval Office.
Yet, for what shall it profit a writer, if he shall gain the whole world of access, and lose his own soul?
When you could speak truth to power, what does it say about you that you choose to speak spin for power? ...
Despite Obama’s hopeless struggle with being black enough relative to other black politicians, he was a natural at exploiting white people’s vast reservoir of good will toward blacks—and desire to feel superior over other whites—for his own personal advancement. He was the one they’d been waiting for. As Eric Zorn, the liberal Chicago Tribune columnist, said about Obama’s campaigning among whites in 2004:
“Obama was somehow all about validating you. … He was radiating the sense that ‘You’re the kind of guy who can accept a black guy as a senator.’ He made people feel better about themselves for liking him.”Read the whole thing.