Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Media Whores

There's a brilliant and in-depth analysis in Salon magazine by Eric Boehlert of how the Washington press corps provides a self-fulfilling echo-chamber of criticism about Howard Dean, fed by the Republican attack machine and by anonymous Democrats who usually turn out to be working for one of Dean's rivals for the nomination.

Boehlert recalls how the same "negative narrative" machinery cranked up on Al Gore in 2000, and writes this key paragraph:

"Without the Gore press fiasco as a backdrop it might seem as if Dean were simply wading through an inevitable rough patch with the press -- that pundits and reporters are practicing the usual baptism-by-fire, forcing the unlikely front-runner to earn his stripes. That's a legitimate, even expected part of any race for the White House. But watching the striking similarities between the way the D.C. press is covering Dean and how it treated Gore, and contrasting it with the way it has treated President Bush, it's becoming harder to avoid the obvious conclusion: that Democratic presidential front-runners and nominees are held to a higher, tougher standard by the Washington press corps...."

Who are the most notorious of these media whores? According to Boehlert, Tim Russert ... and pretty much the entire staff of the Washington Post.

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