Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I'll Take the Jaded Mainstream Media Any Day

That was my reaction to various progressive bloggers' worshipful posts about their meeting with Bill Clinton on Tuesday. Over fried chicken in his New York office, the former President met with Democratic bloggers. (A functionary from Senator Hillary Clinton's office was also present.) One blogger has commented on blue Mr. Clinton's eyes are and another said that he was surprised at the number of issues on which the former President and the bloggers agreed.

Whenever any members of the pajama modem brigade get invited to rub shoulders with the high and mighty from their own party, they tend to react as the citizens of Mayberry would were they invited for an audience with Earl Scruggs. Subsequent posts reflect a fawning credulity. Bloggers whose daily writing is filled with criticism lose all capacity for critical thinking when ushered into the presence of luminaries from their own parties, be they Republican or Democrat. "Sheesh, Andy," they seem to say, "he must be a great guy. He thinks I'm so important and I can't think of anything on which we disagree."

In these instances, give me the perspectives of jaded professional journalists who've been inoculated against all snake oils. They may sometimes be overly critical, their questioning unduly barbed. But when a President or a former President pulls them aside to schmooze and bust a move for their latest push, they're less likely to be taken in. They're likely to react more like a man in one of Lincoln's apocryphal stories: "You have heard the story, haven't you, about the man who was tarred and feathered and carried out of town on a rail? A man in the crowd asked him how he liked it. His reply was that if it was not for the honor of the thing, he would much rather walk."

By the way, bloggers who swoon over the honor of special attention from major pols can be found on both sides of the partisan divide. There are even some mainstream journalists who act like they're from Mayberry.

I try to put the most charitable spin on the actions of words of others. But I worship only one God. When it comes to anybody else, "trust, but verify" are appropriate watchwords. As bloggers play an increasingly prominent role in politics and cultural life, a little jadedness will do.

[TY to Althouse.]

[Thanks to the guys at Article6 Blog for linking to this post. But I should point out that, in the piece where they make the link, they were critical of what they perceive to be a fawning attitude of mainstream media mavens toward the Clintons. I was pointing out the lack of critical thinking which many bloggers apply to pols with whom they are, by and large, aligned, whether they're on the Right or the Left.]

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