Politics, the Press, and the Public
(Photos by Robin Holland)
In this week’s JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with prominent bloggers Jay Rosen and Glenn Greenwald about the role of the establishment press in America’s dysfunctional political system.
Rosen suggested that members of the press may have a variety of preconceived notions through which they filter their reporting:
“If you're a career Washington reporter, how do you know that your knowledge is always going to be relevant throughout your career? Well, if politics is just an inside game, then you're always on top of it. If all of a sudden, a new dynamic enters it, you may not have the knowledge you need to be the expert, to be the authority. And I think there's a tendency for Washington journalists to see everything converging towards the political game that they are themselves masters of.”
Greenwald argued that the establishment media may be an impediment to political change:
“If you were to say to normal Americans... that members of Congress leave office and make millions of dollars doing nothing other than essentially peddling influence to wealthy individuals who can have their way with Congress, most people consider that to be corruption. That's what Barack Obama called it when he ran. Yet, to members of the media, who have spent their lives in Washington, who are friends and colleagues of the people who are engorging themselves on this corrupt system, that is just the way of life. It's like breathing air or drinking water. It's not anything that's noteworthy, let alone controversial... What's going to have to happen is his supporters, on whom he relies for his political power, are going to have to be the ones holding him accountable, by being angry and dissatisfied when he seems to be off the course that he promised he would stay on.”
On the other hand, many observers perceived that the establishment press supported Barack Obama, who campaigned as and was widely considered the candidate of change. Michael S. Malone of ABC accused the press of “shameless support” for Democrats, while Mark Halperin of TIME cited “extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage” during election season.
What do you think?