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December 03, 2012

White House Press Coverage: Now With 20% More Respectful Toughness!

Via Memeorandum comes this delicious quote:

"Liberals in the media are going to be tougher on Obama and more respectful at the same time," Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker's chief political commentator and a former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, told POLITICO. "He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe….. [but] now liberals don't have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing."

Question for the ages: if journalists are now openly admitting that their commitment to holding the White House accountable depends on whether that helps "their side" win, is their coverage of Republican presidents/candidates driven by the same considerations?

If producing a "win" for their side determines the degree to which the media are willing to hold politicians accountable, then it logically follows that it's always going to be in their interest to hold Democrats to a lower standard... and likewise, to Republican politicians to a higher standard than Democrat politicians. Glenn Greenwald nails it:

Once one decides in the name of electoral expediency to abdicate their primary duty as a citizen and especially as a journalist - namely, to hold accountable those who wield the greatest political power - then this becomes a permanent abdication. That's because US politics is essentially one permanent, never-ending election. The 2012 votes were barely counted before the political media began chattering about 2016, and MSNBC is already - as one of its prime time hosts put it - "gearing up" for the 2014 midterm. [...]

There is never any justification for those who work in media or hold themselves out as journalists - as opposed to, say, those who are party apparatchiks - to refrain from holding the nation's most powerful political leaders accountable.

So much for "fairness". Or professionalism. Or pretty much any pretense to integrity.

Posted by Cassandra at December 3, 2012 06:25 PM

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...it logically follows that it's always going to be in their interest to hold Democrats to a lower standard....

The premise that some influential folks think Democrats can't meet anything but a "lower standard" ought to be an enormous clue bat.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 3, 2012 07:10 PM

I think it is their professionalism that I admire the most.

After a time, you actually begin to wonder what is real, and what is an illusion.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 3, 2012 10:57 PM

Nero's Choir

Posted by: tomg51 at December 4, 2012 09:53 AM

Oh, their professionalism is second to none. It's just that their profession is Democratic Party Operatives with Bylines.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 4, 2012 10:18 AM

At least they're honest about it, now.

Posted by: FbL at December 4, 2012 07:10 PM

Dear Lord, cannot the sheep look up?

Posted by: CAPT Mongo at December 4, 2012 08:24 PM

Bear in mind, it's Hendrik Hertzberg. That's a hack you can't expect much from, even an attempt to keep his story straight.

Posted by: Texan99 at December 5, 2012 07:49 AM