Taibbi On The Media-Political Establishment Dynamic

One of WWW’s favorites, Matt Taibbi, struck not a blow at Sarah Palin in a recent post but the whole of the relationship between the mainstream media and its interactions with the political establishment. Taibbi has been a reporter out on the campaign trail multiple times and, coming from a non-traditional journalism background, tends not accept the usual role of the journalist in these matters.

I’ll get to some choice bits of the post in a second but I think it is another example of why we really should not feel so bad about the MSM faltering with the new technologies that have come about as they have obviously been involved in helping create the stories that they are supposed to be reporting, a matter I pointed out in one of my posts about Nidal Malik Hasan. Seriously, read the whole thing. It seems that the political press corps are more akin to high schoolers trying to look cool and get brownie points instead of doing their jobs. Also, it seems the they are pretty touchy as Taibbi points out (but isn’t copied here) that if you don’t treat them nicely then you are likely to get savaged in the media.

Some morsels to digest:

1) The political media has always taken it upon itself to make decisions about who is and who is not qualified to be taken seriously as candidates for higher office. Without even talking about whether they do this more or less to Republicans or Democrats, I can testify that I witnessed this phenomenon over and over again in the primary battles within the Democratic Party. It has always been true that the press corps has drawn upon internalized professional biases, high-school-style groupthink and the urging of insider wonks to separate candidates into “serious” and “unserious” groups before the shots even start to be fired.

2) When that does happen, when the press corps decides to abandon all restraint and go for the head shot, it usually tells us a lot more about the reporters’ bosses and what they’re thinking than it does about the reporters themselves. Your average political reporter is a spineless dweeb who went to all the best schools and made it to that privileged seat inside the campaign-trail ropeline by being keenly sensitive to the editorial wishes of his social and professional superiors.

Once the signal comes down that this or that politician doesn’t have the backing of anyone who matters, that’s when the knives really come out. When a politician has powerful allies and powerful friends, you won’t see reporters brazenly kicking him in the crotch the way they did to Dean and they’re doing now to Sarah Palin. The only time they do this is when they know there won’t be consequences, meaning when the politician’s only supporters are non-entities (read: voters), as in the case of Ron Paul or Kucinich. Like America in general, the press corps never attacks any enemy that can fight back. To illustrate the point via haiku:

Journos are pussies

Only attack when it’s safe

Lay off entrenched pols

The press corps that is bashing her skull in right now is the same one that hyped that WMD horseshit for like four solid years and pom-pommed America to war with Iraq over the screeching objections of the entire planet. It’s the same press corps that rolled out the red carpet for someone very nearly as abjectly stupid as Sarah Palin to win not one but two terms in the White House. If there was any kind of consensus support for Palin inside the beltway, the criticism of her, bet on it, would be almost totally confined to chortling east coast smartasses like me and Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan.

One Comment

  1. Diane DP

    Perhaps they are going after palin because she
    2.quit half way througha Gov’s term towrite a book to make more money.
    3.lies about everything
    4. is not only not educated about the world, but is proud of it.
    5. Did Imention she lies,a lot?
    6.HAs really, really crazy religious beliefs. Believes in witches, creationism and other things that she is NOT talking about.
    7.HAs NO desire to educate herself, because she believes and so do others that she was ordained by God to be President.
    8.She quit another state job, before she was Gov.
    9.WHile Mayor,hired a city administrator for a town of 6,000 and left the town millions of dollars in debt.
    10. tried to ban books while Mayor.
    11. All those ethics complaines she was cleared of???
    By an ethics board,appointed by her and dependent upon her for their JOBS.

    I could go on and on, but,you get my drift.