Media Fails to Learn Lessons From Bush Presidency?

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Nov 17, 2008 8:00 AM
Howard Kurtz's column today makes note of the fact that the media is in the throes of a full-blown man-crush over Barack Obama. 

While a few good reporters and columnists are noting that this is an unhealthy development for a supposedly impartial press corps, it strikes me that there is another story here:  the media has learned nothing from the last eight years. 

Whether it's true or not, the media has pushed a narrative which says that reporters were too keen on supporting George W. Bush -- especially during the "rush to war."  In short, the media argues that they were too swept-up in the post-2001 zeitgeist to ask serious questions of Bush.

Recently, I watched the 2000 documentary, "Journeys with George."  This was Alexandra Pelosi's video diary of the campaign, but it features several reporters who have now become semi-celebrities.  One thing that is obvious if you go back and watch the film is that the media covering Bush failed to ask substantive questions of the future president.  Of course, 9-11 cannot be blamed for their lack of seriousness or substance.

Regardless, if the media wants to spread the meme that they were wrongly coopted by Bush's charisma -- and by the patriotic fervor which followed 9-11 -- a point which is debatable (I would argue most reporters simply don't ask tough questions in order to maintain access) -- then they should have at least promised to not repeat the mistake.  Instead, they have taken it to a new level.  Obama has received more fawning praise and positive coverage than any politician of recent memory.

... Of course, you and I know that the media learned the wrong lesson.  Instead of learning they should remain impartial and avoid being swept up the the passions of the moment, the media learned they would never be fooled by a Republican again....