Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional lawyer-turned-dirty-blogger recently mocked
David Broder, the "Dean of the DC press corps" for acting as if he were in touch with so-called "real" Americans. Joe Klein, displaying yet again
the cluelessness for which we love him so, responded by asking if Glenn is suggesting that DC pundits never leave DC to go and talk to "regular people."
Yes, Joe, that's exactly
what Glenn was talking about. We dirty bloggers want all our DC pundits to just stay put in Washington so they become even more insulated from what real Americans are like. Give me a break.
Digby, as is her* wont, puts this all into perspective beautifully. The once-sacred profession of journalism has become stained by laziness, incompetence, a worship of the bottom line, and faux "balance" that is nothing more than "he said, she said" reporting even when the actual facts
of the matter are obvious. These pundits exercise real power, partly from forming the opinions of those who read them in newspapers across the country and watch them on TV, but mainly because they form the echo chamber of Washington, DC that consumes our politicians' attention and drowns out the voices of the American citizenry - especially the citizens in the USA who are not middle-aged white males living in small towns in the Midwest.
It's best if you read the whole thing, as they say, but the last paragraph is exquisite and deserves to be highlighted
Of course political reporters should go out and interview Americans and write stories about what those Americans have to say about the issues of the day. But those interviews are not any more representative of what "the people" as a whole think than are the liberal blogs or Sally Quinn's fictitious "small town" or the fans at a NASCAR race. This is especially true when it's filtered through the phony bourgeois posturings of a bunch of highly paid reporters and insiders who have contrived a self-serving little passion play in which they are regular blue collar guys from Buffalo and corn fed farmers from the Midwest (Real Americans!) who just happen to summer on Nantucket and get invitations to white tie state dinners with the Queen of England. Pardon us fringe dwellers for being just a tad skeptical that these forays out into "America" are informing us about anything more the embarrassing neuroses of some very spoiled elites.
The DC press wants to have it all: power to shape our nation's discourse with no responsibility, no accountability whatsoever for their actions, for the way their relationships shape their stories, for the standards they employ when granting anonymity, for example, or fact-checking their sources. They're used to the conservative critique, at least somewhat, and have put in place several practices they use to diffuse it. The "he said, she said" method of reporting is of course the most popular, but they also have responded by stocking the cable news shows with conservatives and allowing conservatives-in-Democratic-clothing to pass themselves off with nary a challenge, not ever any questions about how the views of so-called "liberals" like Richard Cohen and Joe Klein are so out of step with actual Democrats around the country. Most of the time these faux liberals are to the right of much of the actual Republican party in matters of foreign policy and even the role of the government.
Simply put, I have no reason to trust them. And it's not because some drug-addicted gasbag like Rush Limbaugh told me to not trust them or to only trust a few of them. It's because of the facts on the ground.
And until they stop going to State Dinners as guests, until they stop currying favor for their precious access
- which only means that they will be the first to be told lies - until these pundits and "journalists" start to put up some boundaries between them and the political system they claim to cover as disinterested observers, I will not ever have a reason to trust them.
It's a pain to watch people with power and prestige get treated so well. It's hard to place one's self on the outside of such grand pageantry. But that's the calling. That's what they got in this business to do. I wouldn't mind if my obituary ran in all the papers, if the cable news networks ran specials about my life and my contributions. But in the end, what I would really like to know is that my legacy will be one of integrity, that the epitaph on my tombstone could read "here lies a trustworthy man."
It's past time for Broder, Klein, Cohen and all the others to consider just what they want their legacy to be.If you're interested in actual facts about the so-called liberal media, go to Media Matters and poke around. Yes, it's a liberal advocacy group. But try to catch them in a falsehood or inaccuracy.
*the consensus seems to be that Digby is a woman, though I haven't seen anything definitive. English pronouns just don't cut it sometimes.