2005/02/27

Purpose of the press corps

A writer from Michnews.com does a long, long post (90 kilobytes!) on liberals and newspeople and the press corps and lots of other things. The writer is very, very angry at how liberals are so mean and write such terrible things about the president and conservatives in general and all sorts of other things. Facts? Arguments? Good points? As Jon Stewart says “Not so much”.


One of the major points he makes in his concluding round-up of terrible liberals is that “Ian Williams of the Far Left rag, The Nation” has been working with (Gast! Shudder!) the United Nations!!


Um..okay. What else has he got on Ian?


Seems the organization that he's part of, the United Nations Correspondents Association, has been employing someone who wasn't cleared through US Immigration.


Tim Russert, who has come under frequent scathing criticism from the Daily Howler for shamelessly supporting Republicans, whether they were in the opposition during Clinton's term or whether they've been in power since Bush took office, is also listed as a liberal-loving lefty.


Another indication as to how professional and accurate and trustworthy the article is:


Cameron, who’s one of the best White House correspondents in Washington, referred to John Kerry as a “metrosexual” in a private e-mail about Kerry’s over-the-top grooming habits. But it was inadvertently posted on Foxnews.com and, subsequently, the pro-Kerry media pounced.


FOXNews.com, a corporate news website, inadvertently posted a piece that just happened to smear a presidential candidate? The idea that a corporate news website that has all sorts of writers, editors and technicians, would allow a piece that just happened to support their political point of view to be accidentally posted calls for a serious suspension of disbelief. No evidence has been produced to back up this flimsy excuse. .


Much of the column is devoted to a biased and inaccurate re-telling of the Guckert/Gannon story, the guy who somehow obtained clearance to pose as a reporter, allegedly for a legitimate news organization, and was outed after two years of being able to ask President Bush along with Press Secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan questions during press conferences. How he got this access is a mystery as he also had a few websites where he posted naked pictures of himself and offered his sexual services to men.


The most interesting part of the piece is when the author complains that:


The bottom line is these disingenuous media leftists don’t really care that Gannon’s not from one of their precious Ivy League J-Schools: Their main gripe is that Gannon’s a pro-Bush conservative who they think shouldn’t have been allowed exclusive membership in their restricted clubhouse.


What exactly is the value of having a “pro-Bush conservative” in the press corps? If the guy is just going to ask softball questions designed to make the President look good, can't that be done in another context? This president holds fewer press conferences than did anyone in the 20th Century. Do we really need to use up valuable air-time by letting a “pro-Bush conservative” speak?


Can't the president just appear on a FOX News talk show/interview and put out his words of the day that way? Why exactly do press secretaries need friendly faces in the press corps?


Is it really the job of the press corps to be gentle with administration personnel? The advice columnist Judith Martin, who goes by the name “Miss Manner” said that she was once speaking to a journalist who opined that it was their job to make the president (Nixon at the time) look good. Martin replied quite correctly that “It's the president's job to make the president look good.”


I read a piece that suggested that there are, quite properly, different standards for journalists who support the president (Whoever he happens to be at the time) and for those who are in the opposition. That's okay and preference should be given to opponents.


I agree completely. Opposition journalists should be given the ability to do their job. If a pro-administration person and an opponent of the administration both want to ask a question, preference should be given to the opponent. The author of the MichNews piece feels (Jumping up and down, banging on the table, hollering and screaming-feels) that journalists should be loyal to the President. The President has all the time he needs to deal with friendly journalists who gently toss him softball questions. The American People don't need a “journalist” like Guckert/Gannon who's there to be a friendly face in the crowd.

No comments: