Saturday, November 01, 2008
The Establishment press: still ailing after all these yearsDigby's designation of our national press corps as "the Village" seems to be catching on, although she seems to use the term in a somewhat broader sense than just the press to include other movers and shakers that have great influence on the conventional wisdom (established wisdom, respectable opinion, etc.)
The Village hasn't been as hostile to Obama as they were to Kerry in 2004 and certainly less hostile than to Gore in 2000. The press' love affair with St. John McCain also hit a rough spot this year, since it became so painfully obvious this year that he wasn't acting like the noble, selfless, post-partisan that he never was but that the press corps for years made him out to be.
It's easy to see from what happened in the primaries that things would have been very different had Hillary Clinton had been the Democratic nominee. The press treatment of the Clintons over the years will be something that historians and psychologists will ponder for a long time to come.
The press romance with the Republicans is more restrained this year than it has been for years. That's not saying a lot, seeing how they prostrated themselves at the feet of our Dear Leader George W. Bush for most of his term. But our more prominent pundits and reporters, some of whom earn millions per year, were no doubt shocked by the effect of Bushonomics on their own stock and/or real estate portfolios. And some of it probably is going with the flow, since Obama has been looking like a winner for weeks now. As Glenn Greenwald puts it, referencing Joe Klein's Obama-friendly posture this year, "There are many former Beltway Bush enablers with their wet fingers in the air who have undergone similar transformations, who will, I fully expect, return to form once circumstances change."
But adoration of McCain among his once and future "base", the national press corps, hasn't ceased. The Los Angeles Times provided an example of this in the past week, McCain was frank, garrulous and accessible -- and then he wasn't by Maeve Reston 10/28/08. A remarkable example, actually, remarkable because of its frankness in what to us news consumers looks an awfully lot like a confession of a gross lack of basic professionalism. Greenwald and others have elaborated on her text already, and I won't try to rehash their comments. I've included links to other commentary at the end of this post.
Here are a couple of the more telling quotes from her article, though you really need to read the whole thing to get the full effect:
I had headed to the back of his bus with a small group of reporters, where as always McCain warmly motioned for us to squeeze in beside him on the couch.She asked a question to the candidate that didn't make him look exactly like his PR people would want him to look! And she was terribly embarrassed at her mistake!
By July, I had covered McCain for almost seven months. I could recite many lines of his stump speech by heart, dreamed about his events at night and spent so much time scrolling through campaign e-mails on my BlackBerry that my fiance joked to our friends about the other man in my life.They want to love St. McCain, they really do. They had some a warm and intimate relationship with him, and they miss it.
This is really sad. It's a sign of the state of the American press that Reston would write such a story about herself without it being a confession of how she had failed as a reporter. Amazing.
Maeve Reston's unintentional exposure of campaign reporters by Glenn Greenwald Salon 10/29/08 calls Reston's article a "sentimental, cringe-inducing retrospective".
A tale of two buses by Terry Welch, Nitpicker blog 10/28/08 says Reston's "embarrassing piece ... seems more like the diary entry of a recently-jilted girlfriend."
Bob "the Daily Howler" Somerby in his 10/29/08 post: "Where in the world does this cohort come from? Even today, after all that we’ve been through, they still think it’s cute to refer to a White House candidate as 'the other man in my life'."
Tags: establishment press, mainstream media, mainstream media, mainstream press, mccain
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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