Bush spokesman Scott McClellan has pleaded ignorance, saying that, "In this day and age, when you have a changing media, it's not an easy issue to decide, to try to pick and choose who is a journalist.'' Which is patently ridiculous. Contrary to the press secretary's Hamlet-like agonizing, it's not all that hard to know who is and is not a reporter.
If an individual reports for a recognized media outlet that observes customary standards of journalistic integrity -- even if it tends to view the world through a conservative or liberal editorial prism -- that person is a reporter.
But if the person works for an outlet that simply promotes, or advocates for, one political party or another, then the line between reporter and shill has been well and truly crossed.
It's not brain surgery. So you'll have to forgive me for not extending the benefit of the doubt to McClellan. My problem is that he speaks for an administration with a long record of manipulating truth and propagandizing the public.
These are the folks who pay pundits to say nice things about them. The ones who pressure scientists to change science that conflicts with political goals. The ones who ignore their own experts when confronted with information they'd rather not
believe. And this is a president whose press conferences occur with only slightly more frequency than ice storms do in Key West, who ducks hard questions posed by actual reporters, preferring to bat slow pitches tossed by citizens prescreened for their support.
So planting a party stooge among the real reporters hardly seems out of character. The thing is, a government that is not scrutinized by an energetic and adversarial press is a government that is not accountable for its actions.
A government that is allowed to create its own reality is a government that can get away with anything.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Where's The Public Outrage?
Leonard Pitts, Jr. wonders why the American public isn't more outraged by Jeff Gannon's ability to gain access to the White House:
Posted by Timothy Karr