Jay Carney, CNN, and the role of the “Fourth Estate”

 

This week we learned that Jay Carney is starting a new job at CNN.* “Of course he is,” quipped Glenn Reynolds. And of course he is.

Jay Carney spent the last six years as a paid, professional liar in the service of another professional liar. A snide, sneering jerk of a human being, constantly and consistently behaving like the smug weasel** we recognize from any number of 1980s high school movies. The nerds got their revenge by moving to Washington.

And now they’re “journalists.”

And in this clip, he has a back-and-forth with Senator McCain that demonstrates he’s still doing nothing but passing along talking points on behalf of his former boss. (The patented Carney-sneer frozen on his face.)

Or, to put it another way, he’s nothing but the President’s “mini-me” at CNN.

In the current era, what, exactly, is the role of the “fourth estate”? As Congressman Trey Gowdy pointed out dramatically in a slightly-viral clip, “Congress is supposed to provide oversight, the voters are supposed to provide oversight, and [the media is] supposed to provide oversight. That’s why you have special liberties, and that’s why you have special protections.”

We’ve given special liberties, special protections, and full access to the halls of power to people who aren’t the least bit interested in oversight. (Unless there’s a Republican administration, of course.)

So how is having an Obama administration shill a benefit to CNN? Or perhaps more importantly, to its viewers? I can’t think of one.

As much as we complain about how the press treated George Bush, in a sense, antagonism is necessary (if not to the extent that we saw during the Bush years). A respectful antagonism, then.

While there may still be some holdouts (and we saw what happens to people like Sharyl Attkisson who cause trouble for the White House), for the most part, the history of the Obama administration is the history of a compliant, fully-captured media, not providing oversight, but providing cover. Providing excuses.

When the news about Ezra Klein’s Journolist broke among people who care about such things, there was some initial panic among the press. But because it never really filtered down to the public, Klein and his fellow flacks were able to shrug it off. They continue to have great jobs embedded in fourth estate, and continue to be propagandists for the President even thought they’ve violated every journalistic ethic since the first caveman drew on the wall a report about the booming wheel industry.

Here at Ricochet, some voices say we conservatives need to stop complaining about the media. I’m wondering if we don’t complain enough. Even if we manage to take back the White House and the Senate, we will still be dealing with a media that has become little more than a propaganda arm for a single political party.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, because I’m kind of thinking aloud. It’s been a long time since I was in J-school (25 years!) and I don’t know if they still teach journalistic ethics. (It was the Reagan/Bush era, so speaking truth to power was implicit.) Watching Jay Carney on CNN, still playing the role of White House spokesman, was a stark reminder that reform of the journalistic profession is necessary and vital to the survival of the nation. I just don’t know where we should begin.

———————

* To be fair, Carney is obviously not the first former White House flack who found a nice job in the fourth estate. We’ve had many. Carney is just one of the more recent examples, and possibly the most noxious.

** “Weasel” is not the word I really wanted to use here. My original term was more alliterative.

There are 25 comments.

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  1. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Drew, I apologize for going off-topic here but I’ve been trying to reach you for a couple weeks.  Maybe the browser you’re using doesn’t show that you have messages in your Inbox.  Hank Rhody told me you live in the same town he does, so I wanted you to know about the Duluth Ricochet Meetup I’m hosting next month.

    • #1
  2. user_337201 Inactive
    user_337201
    @EricWallace

    You never responded to my PM either!

    • #2
  3. user_337201 Inactive
    user_337201
    @EricWallace

    On the post topic, the liberal side of things have created something like a closed, self-sustaining ecosystem of power (at least as far as politics and entertainment). On the positive side, the secure feeling of a closed system means they can be vulnerable to popular alternatives.

    • #3
  4. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Good grief. I’ve got a crapload of messages in there! No, I don’t get notices.

    Well, looks like I’ll be busy for awhile . . .

    • #4
  5. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Please, Beltway Jay has a Masters degree from the Baghdad Bob school of “Journalism”.

    Hence the name.

    • #5
  6. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    DrewInWisconsin:Good grief. I’ve got a crapload of messages in there! No, I don’t get notices.

    Well, looks like I’ll be busy for awhile . . .

    Drew,

    I thought you were gone. I was worried. I need somebody to look down to and you are about the only one on the site in the 8 cent and 9 cent range.

    • #6
  7. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    All I’ve been able to manage for the last several months is just random drive-by snark.

    • #7
  8. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    DrewInWisconsin:All I’ve been able to manage for the last several months is just random drive-by snark.

    Keep it up!!  I need you. Would you work on more typos and non-sequiturs?

    • #8
  9. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Carney has been hired to provide commentary, not journalism. I’m not a fan of Carney, but it’s hard to see what he’s doing as particularly nefarious. Do you object to Dana Perino working for Fox News?

    • #9
  10. 10 cents Member
    10 cents
    @

    Salvatore Padula:Carney has been hired to provide commentary, not journalism. I’m not a fan of Carney, but it’s hard to see what he’s doing as particularly nefarious. Do you object to Dana Perino working for Fox News?

    Sal,

    I feel Carney has no moral compass. I thought Gibbs was bad then we had Carney. I thought Carney was bad and then we had  Earnest. It has gotten progressively worse.

    • #10
  11. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    DrewInWisconsin:All I’ve been able to manage for the last several months is just random drive-by snark.

    Four years in and that is still all I’ve been able to manage.

    • #11
  12. user_1029039 Member
    user_1029039
    @JasonRudert

    Drew, I sent you a PM just to make sure they’re still working. Read mine first.

    • #12
  13. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Sal,

    I feel Carney has no moral compass. I thought Gibbs was bad then we had Carney. I thought Carney was bad and then we had Earnest. It has gotten progressively worse.

    That’s why they’re called “Progressives”

    • #13
  14. Mark Belling Fan Member
    Mark Belling Fan
    @MBF

    I agree with Sal. Carney is probably just expected to provide verbal diarrhea on panel shows. No one thinks of these people as journalists.

    Now, Stephonpopolopoous, on the other hand..

    • #14
  15. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Jay Carney didn’t change jobs, just venues.

    • #15
  16. Carol Member
    Carol
    @

    Salvatore Padula:Carney has been hired to provide commentary, not journalism. I’m not a fan of Carney, but it’s hard to see what he’s doing as particularly nefarious. Do you object to Dana Perino working for Fox News?

    It depends.  Is Carney there as a “news” guy? Perino provides commentary and opinion.

    • #16
  17. Carol Member
    Carol
    @

    Carol:

    Salvatore Padula:Carney has been hired to provide commentary, not journalism. I’m not a fan of Carney, but it’s hard to see what he’s doing as particularly nefarious. Do you object to Dana Perino working for Fox News?

    It depends. Is Carney there as a “news” guy? Perino provides commentary and opinion.

    Of course you might say that, with the exception of maybe Jake Tapper, everyone on CNN is an opinion journalist.

    • #17
  18. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    MBF:Now, Stephonpopolopoous, on the other hand..

    I understood when George left his White House job. I mean, at some point you have to get tired of starting each morning by asking , “Which mistress should I smear today, Boss?”

    • #18
  19. dittoheadadt Inactive
    dittoheadadt
    @dittoheadadt

    Bechel is also at Fox, in addition to the lovely and talented Dana. Who’s Carney’s counterweight at CNN? (I’d have copied your comment, Salvatore, but I’m on an iPad and the “comment” link doesn’t work.)

    • #19
  20. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Carol:

    Salvatore Padula:Carney has been hired to provide commentary, not journalism. I’m not a fan of Carney, but it’s hard to see what he’s doing as particularly nefarious. Do you object to Dana Perino working for Fox News?

    It depends. Is Carney there as a “news” guy? Perino provides commentary and opinion.

    She also didn’t start working for Fox until well after George Bush had left office.

    By the way, Drew, I sent you a PM a while ago, too.

    • #20
  21. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Albert- Perino didn’t start working for Fox until after W left office because she was press secretary through the end of his administration.

    • #21
  22. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    dittoheadadt- Bill Kristol and Newt Gingrich are both CNN contributors. They were both on the same panel last night as was Carney.

    • #22
  23. Big John Member
    Big John
    @AllanRutter

    DIW:  Thanks for the post.   Hiring Jay Carney is one boneheaded move in a series by CNN management, and their ratings are cratering as a result.

    Here’s my one thing (channeling Jack Palance) that can be done to raise television journalism standards–elect politicians with enough spine (or other parts) to refuse to show up if they’re going to be interviewed by hacks and flacks.  McCain will never do it because he wants to be loved again by these guys.  I just wish someone else would say, “I’m a sitting United States Senator and I have more self-respect than to waste my time talking with this clown.”

    By the way, they should say the same thing to Eric Cantor if he showed up to their Senate offices.  “Eric, I’ll grab a drink with you if you want to watch sports, but I won’t talk policy with you.  I wish you would have gone to work for someone who makes stuff and sells it honestly, rather than take money from yet another rent-seeking crony.”

    Go Scott Walker!

    • #23
  24. dittoheadadt Inactive
    dittoheadadt
    @dittoheadadt

    Salvatore Padula:dittoheadadt- Bill Kristol and Newt Gingrich are both CNN contributors. They were both on the same panel last night as was Carney.

    Thanks, Salvatore.  I don’t watch CNN so I didn’t know that.

    • #24
  25. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    “An ambassador is a man of virtue sent to lie abroad for his country; a news-writer is a man without virtue who lies at home for himself.” – Henry Wotton, Sr.

    • #25

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