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View Diary: Journalism, WaPo style (69 comments)

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  •  My big fear is the precedent ... (4.00)
    Karl Rove told the WaPo WH reporters to jump, and the reporters responded with a loud, public, unambiguous, "How high, sir!"

    So, now word goes out to all White House reporters ... AND to all politicians ... that the Washington Post can be rolled.  Easily.  Willingly.  Without a fuss or a fight.

    So, now what happens?  Certainly Rove is emboldened.  He just plays the game even harder.  The "denial of access," the bullying, the intimidation.  But, now White House reporters in countless other organizations have cover to play by Rove's rules.  

    And, don't think for a minute that the next occupant of the White House, whether Dem or Repub, won't take this lesson to heart!  There is a reason that the White House press corps is generally, most of the time, not transparently subservient to the White House (I'm not talking about being susceptible to "charm offensives" ... that's a whole other story).  The reason is that the White House assumes bullying and intimidation, except around the edges, will backfire.  Len Downie has loudly and publicly proclaimed that not to be so.  There is no question that future White Houses beyond this despicable crew will be emboldened.  Which is why I find this little affair so horrifying.

    •  What is pathetic about those reporters (none)
      is how they'll jump for a man who is currently under investigation for outing a covert agent; whose boss's poll numbers swirl around the bottom of the toilet; who they know basically lies to them all the time.

      The problem is not w/ Rove and the WH. We know they're bastards. The problem are these pathetic "professional" reporters too spineless to do the job they're supposed to. As oppose to sucking up.

      So to all those press types out there -- if you don't want to be considered a joke, stop acting like one.

      •  More importantly (none)
        an open letter to their publishers -

        You want people to buy papers? REPORT THINGS. Not just WH spin, not just Bush's talking points, not just the stuff I can hear on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc.

        INVESTIGATE. Read foreign papers. Look stuff up for yourselves. Analyze data.

        I know, I know, it's hard work. And what's more, the Bushites will NOT like it.

        But maybe, just maybe, you'll sell more papers. And selling more papers means more MONEY.


        THAT they listen to.

      •  Agreed (none)
        That was one of the points I wanted to make.  The politicians are just behaving the way you would expect.  Its the press that is behaving bizarrely.
    •  I disagree, to a certain extent... (none)
      It will only happen with Republican administrations. If we're allowed to have another Democratic president -- and that's a big if, given Diebold -- you can be assured that the press will do another 180 (as they did on 1/20/93 and 1/20/01), and suddenly the press will be demanding accountability from that administration, relentlessly egged on by their GOP masters.

      This rolling-over-for-ReTHUGs crap has been going on a long, long time, going back to the days when Shrub was still (admittedly) drinking heavily and bankrupting companies. And when I think of the press treatment of Jimmy Carter, especially during his last two years, I wonder if that's when this stuff really started in earnest. It's just gotten steadily worse over the years -- think of the boiled-frog syndrome.

      I first started noticing it very early in the Reagan administration. One of the most notorious examples involved the New York Times. Ray Bonner, their correspondent in Central America, reported on the massacre at El Mozote in El Salvado, where the Reagan-Administration-supported government murdered about 1000 people in one village. The Reagan people complained to then-Executive Editor Abe Rosenthal about Bonner's story, calling it Commie propaganda. Rosenthal rolled over and recalled Bonner from Central America. (10 years later, the mass graves in El Mozote were dug up, and the body count confirmed Bonner's story as being true.)

      For 12 long years, the so-called "liberal media" pulled its punches on Reagan and Poppy Bush while continuing to sneer at the Dems. Then a Democrat was inaugurated and suddenly the SCLM launched an endless jihad against President Clinton. Dishonest GOP dirty tricksters fed the presstitutes a steady diet of wild misrepresentations, gross distortions and occasional outright lies -- which of course the presstitutes just happened to neglect fact-checking -- in order to create phony "scandal," after phony "scandal," after unbelievably phony "scandal." Of course, these phony "scandals" eventually led to a real scandal: Clinton (gasp!) lied about an extramarital affair, something which was none of of our damn business. Of course, the right-wing operatives made this our business, through their dishonest (and, in some cases, illegal) manipulation of the so-called "liberal media" and the judicial system.

      Yes, if a Dem does manage to get into office, the press will continue to be bullied and manipulated -- not by the administration but rather by the administration's right-wing enemies.

      •  Yes, (none)
        That's exactly my memory as well. However, it took me a long time to recognize it for what it was.  By that time, the Fairness Doctrine was history.

        This is an excellent explanation of that very phenomenum by Robert Parry, The Rise of the 'Patriotic Journalist'

        I don't hold much faith that the same thing won't occur with our next Democratic President.

        •  Thanks for the link (none)
          Best perspective I have ever seen on what has happened to U.S. press.

          I was inflamed by the fire of a free press back in the late 50s-early 60s, and my first reporting job was for an independent newspaper. Even in J grad school in the 70s, I noticed a shift away from the tradition of muckraking or investigating or speaking truth to power.

          Robert Parry, Consortium News is falling short on fund-raising goal. Please help:


          Against silence, which is slavery. --Czeslaw Milosz

          by Caneel on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 07:38:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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