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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.