Glenn Greenwald has a great piece eviscerating MSNBC for fawning over President Obama. My favorite hit:
Impressively, David Axelrod left the White House and actually managed to find the only place on earth arguably more devoted to Barack Obama. Finally, American citizens will now be able to hear what journalism has for too long so vindictively denied them: a vibrant debate between Gibbs and Axelrod on how great Obama really is.
But anyway, there's a larger point: most of the media has lost its adversarial stance in favor of cozying up to the powerful.
In response to the ensuing criticism over how strangely happy he obviously became at being squirted in the face by Obama's then-Chief of Staff, Henry appeared on NPR where the following irony-free exchange, one of my favorite ever, actually occurred:"NPR's BROOKE GLADSTONE: 'If these events don't influence coverage, why do you think the White House throws them? Do they just want to shoot you with a super-soaker?'
"ED HENRY: 'Maybe they wanna actually get to know us as people sometimes.'"
"Maybe they wanna actually get to know us as people sometimes": that's why Obama officials throw parties for White House journalists, said Ed Henry. That is easily one the funniest sentences ever. Did I mention that Ed Henry is the head of the White House Correspondents Association?
Ed Henry is with Fox. He thinks that the Obama White House wants to throw parties for journalists not to influence coverage but to get to know them as people. Seriously.
That you can cover what political officials do more effectively when you act adversarially and without their "cooperation" doesn't seem to occur to them. Moreover, getting to sit for personal interviews with the president usually produces anything but adversarial questioning. As even Politico admits: "some reporters inevitably worry access or the chance of a presidential interview will decrease if they get in the face of this White House."
Economic interpretation: politicians have broken the media cartel. The more favorable the coverage, the more access you get. Politicians basically get journalists to bid against each other, and whoever bids the most favorable coverage gets access. Journalists should recognize the game they're playing and wisen up. Unfortunately in an era of declining media revenue the outlets who stand firm will lose eyeballs (they fear) along with access.