There’s been a lot of ink (digital or otherwise) by conservatives and libertarians about the lack of critical thinking on the part of much of the press regarding President Obama and his policies. I’ve been accused of just being paranoid (which may be true), but it looks like there is some validity to the argument.
In conversations with POLITICO, some of the left’s most influential voices in media said that, with the concerns of re-election over, they intend to be more critical of the president’s performance and more aggressive in urging him to pursue a progressive agenda as the clock ticks on his last four years in office.
“Liberals in the media are going to be tougher on Obama and more respectful at the same time,” Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker’s chief political commentator and a former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, told POLITICO. “He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe….. [but] now liberals don’t have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing.”
“In a tight election, people were sensitive to anything that would jeopardize the president’s re-election,” said Melber. “There’s no question that a second term changes the center of gravity for any administration: There is no reasonable argument that criticism will result in the defeat of Barack Obama.”
As a journalist, you aren’t supposed to care. Regardless of your personal politics, a journalist is supposed to be tough regardless of whether they’re on the same side as the president.
Now, it ain’t easy to be tough towards your own side. I encounter this all the time with local politics in my daily life. However, a professional is supposed to be professional. That means you don’t let someone slide because they’re on your side.
Reason’s Matt Welch agrees.
Hendrik Hertzberg, you’re fired! At least from any magazine I would edit. Seriously, even if the president is on your team, the project of journalism is incompatible with the bootlicking of power. I am trying to imagine a universe in which President Gary Johnson is given a pass by Reason over maintaining or strengthening federal penalties for cocaine…nope, can’t do it.
Honestly, I agree with Welch completely.
Of course, I also think they’re doing “their” side a disservice. By softballing Obama like this, there’s no reason for him to have to explain less progressive ideas (like a war in Libya), as well as there being no way for progressives to try and shift Obama and his policies in their direction. After all, I can’t imagine to many progressives are thrilled with the way Obama has pushed forward the Police State by continuing Bush’s so-called anti-terrorism policies.
Of course, what matters most to them is that Team Blue beats Team Red. Heaven forbid that they actually have principles…or journalistic integrity for that matter.