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Politics, Journalism and the Wedding Bed

Our fearless leader (aka, Rob Long) has many favorite sayings, but none is more famous than “Skin in the Game.” Ya got have skin.

But what happens when you have too much in the game, especially if you represent yourself to the public as a journalist whose first loyalty is supposed to be to the truth?

Earlier this month, Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz crashed a local Tea Party event near her home in Avon, Ohio. One of the featured speakers was Josh Mandel, the State Tre…

  1. Franco

    Awesome post EJ! This should get national attention. I’ve known about some of these relationships but not all, and put together like this it is damning.

  2. liberal jim

    There is a relationship between journalism and truth?  It has never occurred to me that there was.  Journalists are self-interested people who do what they regard as best for themselves.  They like to portray themselves otherwise, which is in their best interest. 

  3. Leslie Watkins

    Great reporting, EJ! OMG, when I was a reporter there was no way the editorial page editor or the city editor would have praised a reporter for her “steadfast commitment to social and economic justice” and her “efforts to speak truth to power.” Reporting has been destroyed by Watergate wannabees and their corporate/political party enablers. Which is why I think bias is so much more problematic than even some folks on Ricochet think. 

  4. Keith Preston

    I do a unit on the Media and the Government for my US Government class.  In it, I cite Peter Jennings longtime penchant for the “plight of the Palestinians.”  I didn’t know until years after his passing of his past relationship with Palestinian spokesperson Hanan Ashwari.  If you included the “close relationships”, not just marriages, it’s worse than you think…

  5. KC Mulville

    What strikes me about journalists and political operatives is how similar their jobs must be, since they slide in and out with nary a ripple. The same skills are prominent in marketing and advertising.

    In all theaters, I guess, the skill is the ability to sell. 

    That’s why I can’t take many of these people seriously. They are so transparently selling. I doubt they know the difference between selling and analysis. George Stephanopoulos’ analysis is always about the marketing of politics. He always discusses the optics, the sales job, the sales challenge … and rarely discusses the actual likelihood that any proposal will fix the problem.

    Want to see a mainstream journalist squirm? Ask him about how an Obama plan will create jobs. The answer (as Professor Epstein explains clearly) is that the plan can’t possibly make a dent. But mainstream journalists won’t say that … instead, they’ll rattle on about the sales plan.

  6. EJHill
    KC Mulville:  But mainstream journalists won’t say that … instead, they’ll rattle on about the sales plan. 

    There’s a difference between reporting on a policy and reporting on the politics. Both sides lie and smudge so it’s always more interesting to report on the politics. That and nobody holds bar bets or pools on policy results.

    The point here is that there are too many people with emotional and financial ties to the politics they cover. Why believe what Chuck Todd says when his wife’s fortunes rise and fall with the success of the Democrats?

  7. KC Mulville
    EJHill Both sides lie and smudge so it’s always more interesting to report on the politics. That and nobody holds bar bets or pools on policy results.

    Except that’s what the reporting is supposed to be about. Reporting carries weight when it discusses what actually happened, not so much when it speculates on what might happen. (Heck, I can do that.) 

    Did the prescription drug program work? Save money? or what? How about the bailouts of Chrysler and GM? These are actual events that should be analyzed and presented. And if they succeed or fail, why or why not? That’s what will give voters an insight on what to do next time, or whether similar policies will work elsewhere. That’s where journalism pays off.

    That has a lot more relevance than what fellow journalists are debating around the White House coffee stand. I’ve seen some, but comparatively little reporting of it.

  8. EJHill
    KC Mulville   Reporting carries weight when it discusses what actually happened, not so much when it speculates on what might happen.

    A couple of thoughts to chew on:

    Just about everything in politics is economic in nature.  And since economics is more art than science and sometimes borders on a faith, even economists don’t have a firm grip on the subject. The overwhelming majority of journalists (and all citizens) are economically illiterate so it’s easier to tell the horse-race of politics.

    Heck, I can do that.

    These days, journalism and politics, are not seen as  jobs, but as professions on par with doctors and lawyers. But both are totally unregulated and unlicensed. Your local barber is more licensed and regulated than any journalist. For a journo all you have to do is get hired. 

    I, of course, don’t advocate the government “licensing” the press. But I wish the journalistic organizations would stop hiring writers and hire specialists who know how to write.

  9. Kervinlee

    The American press by and large is the Praetorian Guard of the Democratic party.

  10. KC Mulville
    EJHill A couple of thoughts to chew on:

    The overwhelming majority of journalists (and all citizens) are economically illiterate so it’s easier to tell the horse-race of politics.

    But I wish the journalistic organizations would stop hiring writers and hire specialists who know how to write. 

    Agreed. I’m no economic expert (even my bill statements can attest to this), but I do enjoy writers who can actually explain things coherently. That’s why, when I come across reporting that’s little more than intra-press gossip, I feel cheated. 

  11. The King Prawn

    So what you’re saying is that anyone good looking enough to work at Fox doesn’t have to marry beneath them into politics?

  12. EJHill
    The King Prawn: So what you’re saying is that anyone good looking enough to work at Fox doesn’t have to marry beneath them into politics? 

    I don’t know, but then again neither Carl Cameron or David Asman never did that much for me.

  13. Antiphon

     C’mon EJ, you know that journalists will always be ‘speaking truth to power’ (or ‘ cranking the liberal spin machine’) as long as there is any perceived threat to their, well, power.

    Actually, I have a theory on this. Since the Democratic party hails from the pedigree of Jeffersonian anti-bank agrarianism, Jacksonian populism  and, yes, slave power with it’s massive infiriority complex, it will always see itself as the underdog, the proletariat; even if they were to completely control, oh, two whole branches of the gov. They will always be fighting the evil banks or industrial revolutionists of the Federalists, Whigs or Republicans.

  14. Bradley Ross

    Connie Schultz had an interview with Howard Kurtz where she denies any wrongdoing. In fairness, she was apparently a columnist rather than a reporter which usually changes the objectivity standard a bit.

    I don’t mind members of the press having opinions and biases. We can’t have robots as journalists. I think (as I think Tim Groseclose said in his interview with Peter) that we need to have disclosure. These reporters should mention the connection each time they report on something related. 

  15. EJHill

    Columnist or not, she crossed the line. Just as George Will admitted that he crossed the line when he helped Reagan in debate prep.

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