February 03, 2006
|What Happened To Journalism||Media|
At a recent conference on the Clinton Administration at Hofstra University, ex-press secretary Jake Siewart made a point that had previously eluded me: It was during the early days of Clinton's presidency that the democratization of instant information made the insider press corps obsolete. To retain their importance and self-regard, these journalists had to invent a new function for themselves, and they did: interpreting, not reporting, the news. But instead of doing the hard work of researching the historical, economic, sociological and political contexts of a given story and then finding a way to explain these in lay terms, they preferred to rely on what came most easily to them: cocktail party gossip, green room small talk, semiofficial leaks and unconfirmed rumor, almost always offered up as if the source had no interest in pushing a point of view. [Emphasis added]
Most of the big-time journalists have decided their métier is to get the juicy insider quote, so it's small wonder they curry favor so assiduously. If access is the only thing that matters, you gotta do whatever it takes to preserve access. Like never pointing out the constant stream of lies issuing out of Washington.
It's as if they're all doing celebrity coverage for People magazine. If they stop getting invited to the big, fashionable parties, they're finished.