Assisting the president

Dear Mr. Editor,

Definition: “Sycophant: One who attempts to win favor or advance himself by flattering persons of influence; a servile self-seeker.” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.)

I believe The Associated Press (your newspaper’s source of news articles) has taken on the job of being a presidential sycophant. Recently, President Barack Obama appeared on the Jay Leno comedy show, W.B.O.T. (without the benefit of teleprompter), and was explaining to the TV audience his economic plans to improve the United States. One method the president endorsed was to again create more stimulus, i.e., spending. He gave as one example, spending to deepen shipping channels “in the Gulf ports such as Charleston, Savannah and Jacksonville.” However, all of these ports are on the Atlantic coast – not the Gulf of Mexico.

The next day, The Associated Press came out with a typed transcript of the president’s appearance on Jay Leno, but The AP corrected Obama’s mistake without any reference to his faux pas. This is an example of being a sycophant. (Compare this to the liberal press’ response to President George H.W. Bush’s vice president, Dan Quayle, who misspelled the word “potato.” This slight slip caused an outcry from the press who for weeks afterward (and even for years) laughingly decried Mr. Quayle’s stupidity and lack of education for his job.)

The 19th century newspaper humorist Finley Peter Dunne wrote, “It is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” (Mr. Dooley in Peace and War, Finley Peter Dunne, 1898.)

Very truly yours,

Michael B. Lange,