May 09, 2006
Here is a paragraph from a letter to the editor that will appear in tomorrow's Monitor responding to Katy Burns’s column in today’s paper. Burns’s subject was Stephen Colbert’s appearance at the recent White House Correspondents Association's dinner in Washington, D.C. Here is what the letter writer had to say:
“Colbert was equally justified in his criticism of the mainstream media, which enjoys full lapdog status. Never has it seemed less independent, less committed to the discovery and reporting of truth or less willing to be healthily skeptical of what it is told by those in power. In short, it accepts truthiness over actual truth. Its cravenness is confirmed by its tsunami of twaddle about whether Colbert was funny while it frantically flouts calls for self-examination.”
I had two reactions to this statement.
First and foremost, the writer is dead wrong about the lapdog press. During the last year, newspaper reporters have exposed the Jack Abramoff scandal, chased the corrupt Rep. Duke Cunningham out of office and found massive corruption in Ohio state government. Reporters have shown how badly FEMA works and how ill-served the flooded Gulf Coast was by government at all levels. They have risked their lives to get to the truth in Iraq, an increasingly difficult and dangerous assignment. They have covered the human costs of the war. More to the letter writer’s point, reporters have told the public about Bush administration policies that include a string of secret prisons and the secret wiretapping of American citizens.
Lapdogs? I don’t think so.
But . . .
It has long seemed to me that the White House press corps is much too big. I’m talking about the people who travel with the president and follow his every move. I understand why metropolitan newspapers all want to have their own reporters at the White House (ego, partly), but it is a great waste of talent.
I’ve known and respected a few White House correspondents. It’s a big job that people earn through succeeding in other beats. But when I see a huge roomful of reporters quizzing the president at a press conference, at least three-quarters of them are superfluous. Their readers would be better served if they were elsewhere digging up important information.
So, lapdogs, no; misused talent, yes.
Posted by Mike Pride at May 9, 2006 05:39 PM
> They have risked their lives to get to
> the truth in Iraq, an increasingly
> difficult and dangerous assignment.
If only they'd spent as much time and effort getting to the truth BEFORE the war started (you remember, when they laid down and let the Bushies tread all over them with misinformation about WMDs in Iraq), maybe they wouldn't have had to go and risk their necks in the war. But they didn't. Remember that Bush press conference just before the war, how the reporters were lead into the room two-by-two, and how they just sat there obediently too afraid to ask real and direct and meaningful questions? THAT'S why the press are lapdogs, and it's going to take a long, long time before they make it up.
Posted by: Rufus at May 9, 2006 07:13 PM
This would also be the same press that shilled for the invasion of Iraq despite all contra-indications, helped expose Valerie Plame, sat on the NSA wiretap scandal until after the elections, ignored Jeff "Hot Military Stud" Gannon, and suggests that Democrats got favors from Jack Abramoff.
They are tools.
Posted by: Repack Rider at May 9, 2006 07:21 PM
The mainstream press isn't the story, the internet "new media" is.
Thank god for having access to a wider range of information than what you guys tell us is important.
I don't even agree many times with Colbert's positions, but it is an example of American spunk to spit in the eye of want to be tyrants.
Posted by: N. H. underground at May 12, 2006 10:05 AM
I always think it's interesting how people seem to know the "truth" about all things, yet that truth is mysteriously independent of anything they've read in the "mainstream media," which, after all, are "lapdogs." I also like how namecalling and taunts conveniently substitute for anything resembling an argument.
Posted by: Brendan Wolfe at May 12, 2006 03:08 PM