The Washington Post has a front-page piece today sneering at angry bloggers. Here’s the lead:
In the angry life of Maryscott O’Connor, the rage begins as soon as she opens her eyes and realizes that her president is still George W. Bush. The sun has yet to rise and her family is asleep, but no matter; as soon as the realization kicks in, O’Connor, 37, is out of bed and heading toward her computer.
Out there, awaiting her building fury: the Angry Left, where O’Connor’s reputation is as one of the angriest of all. “One long, sustained scream” is how she describes the writing she does for various Web logs, as she wonders what she should scream about this day.
I am no fan of raw rage: anger is a far more reliable indicator of elevated blood pressure than of any external fact. And the thought of getting up each morning and whipping oneself into a frenzy makes about as much sense as getting up each morning and going to a government desk job.
But what is the alternative perspective of the Establishment Washington media?
Here’s a riff from the “Lying and Legitimacy” chapter of Attention Deficit Democracy:
Deference to the government is now the trademark of the American media—at least at times when the truth could have the greatest impact. The media was grossly negligent in failing to question or examine Bush’s claims on the road to war. When journalists dug up the truth, editors sometimes ignored or buried their reports. Washington Post Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks complained that, in the lead-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, “There was an attitude among editors: ‘Look, we’re going to war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?’” New York Times White House correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller explained the press’s conduct at a Bush press conference just before he invaded Iraq: “I think we were very deferential because… nobody wanted to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time.”
After the war started—and after Bush’s claims turned out to be false— it was often treated as a one-day story, buried in the back of the front section or on the editorial page. Afterward, most papers quickly returned to printing the president’s proclamations as gospel. Alterman, author of When Presidents Lie, observed, “Virtually every major news media outlet devoted more attention to the lies and dissimulations of one New York Times reporter, Jayson Blair, than to those of the president and vice president of the United States regarding Iraq. Given that these two deceptions took place virtually simultaneously, they demonstrate that while some forms of deliberate deception remain intolerable in public life, those of the U.S. commander in chief are not among them.”
The fact that bloggers have helped expose a number of Washington Post debacles might bias the paper on this subject.
The Washington City Paper has an excellent piece this week on the contortions that the Washington Post editorial page has gone through to continue supporting Bush’s war on Iraq. As late as June 2005 – the Post was claiming that it was “not spurious” to link Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. The people who wrote this editorial would do a public service if they stay home and kick the dog or whatever instead of going to the office and cranking out such servile tripe.