Here We Are Now, Entertain Us
Jamison Foser and Eric Boehlert are hammering the press for their lazy, idiotic reporting on Barack Obama's press conference last night. Apparently the new meme is that the President was "boring" last night. I mean, he didn't juggle flaming bowling pins or play the spoons ONCE! How dare he ruin the evenings of the White House press corps with all that talk of "issues" and deficits in the out years. Foser and Boehlert are right, this is journalism as theater criticism.
And their biggest complaint is that they weren't chosen for the pick-up game and had to sit on the bench with all the losers.
In one Baker-Nagourney sentence, even a compliment is only a prologue to a dig that, come to think of it, might help explain why they're so petulant:
"He showed his usual comfort with a wide array of subjects, even as he excluded the nation's big newspapers from the questioning in favor of a more eclectic mix."
My italics but their pique. Take that, Barack Obama, you pompous pedagogue, stringing together whole sentences and indeed paragraphs as if Americans were entitled to hear a line of reasoning. Take that if you dare to exclude "the nation's big newspapers" even as they prove less big every day.
Contrast, for a moment, NYT coverage of George W. Bush's first press conference, on Feb. 22, 2001, a month into his first term. Bush, wrote Frank Bruni in the operative clause of his lede, "sought to redirect public attention to, and amass public support for, his proposed $1.6 trillion tax cut."
That is, Bush had a political goal and pursued it. He was purposeful. His style of pursuing it wasn't Bruni's prime subject. The fact that some of his statements made no sense, or worse, was not worthy of notice.
If you wonder why America seems grounded, unable to move forward on bold initiatives for the past 30 years, without the vitality or innovativeness necessary to tackle major challenges, look no further than this petulant, spoiled, anti-intellectual group of children that represent the modern Fourth Estate, who think that politics exists for their personal amusement. Serious times call for... well, anyone but these people. Here's the close to one of Foser's posts today, and you can substitute "Mr. Malcolm" with just about anyone else in the traditional media:
So here's a suggestion, Mr. Malcolm: Quit. Do it now. Hand in your press pass. There are plenty of out-of-work and soon-to-be-out-of-work-reporters who actually give a damn and who won't have any trouble staying awake for a presidential press conference and who are capable of producing a substantive article that will actually help readers understand what is happening in the world, instead of simply whining that they are insufficiently stimulated. Let one of them have your job. Take up skydiving or running with the bulls or whatever it takes to get you sufficiently excited, and let serious people do your serious job.