The Press' Professional Abdication

Carol Platt Liebau

3/1/2013 9:55:53 AM - Carol Platt Liebau

Like a pack of angry pirahnas, lefty lapdogs (from Cassidy to Sullivan to Ambinder) are either ridiculing or denigrating Bob Woodward for having reported that he felt threatened by the Obama White House (funny -- I thought most of the time, just the victim's subjective experience was deemed proof enough of wrongdoing by a designated "powerful" perpetrator).

Perhaps Ambinder's defense is the most insidious: Are we to conclude that it's acceptable standard operating procedure for an administration to punish and threaten reporters who dare to write or say things they don't like?  President-in-waiting Ted Cruz thanks you in advance for the authorization.

In any case, the Woodward gang-tackle is dispositive proof -- if any were needed -- that journalists now identity themselves primarily as partisans, rather than as reporters.  Thanks for clearing that up, guys. 

While we're on the subject, perhaps the best evidence of the press' systematic abdication of its professional responsibility is the phenomenon of the "low information voters" (LIVs) targeted by the Obama campaign with such success.  Obviously, LIVs have always been with us, but never has their ignorance been exploited to greater effect.

Although everyone likes to offer kudos to the Obama get-out-the-vote operation, a key reason the strategy worked in 2012 as well as in 2008 is because of the press' reluctance to report negative information about their idol (enforced by a campaign of bullying created by The White House, and executed by its minions along with their enablers in the MSM, as Woodward can now attest).  

Obviously, the press can point to selected stories that reflect less-than-favorably on Obama.  But as no one knows better than the media, if one wants to drive a point home, the only real way to do it is through systematic repetition sufficient to create a kind of "meme" (you know, kind of like the multitude of swoony features about how "Obama is sooooo cool!" or contrasting "Dick Cheney is soooo sinister!!" stories).  An odd negative piece here and there isn't enough to inform a public full of low information voters.

That's the truth that the Obama administration has relied on, with full (and justified) confidence that dissenters and naysayers will definitely "regret" crossing it.  Turns out that the wisdom of Sperling's non-threat-friendly-warning to Woodward has been fully vindicated.