Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Sunday, February 28, 2010

  Politico points fingers

At Politico, Michael Calderone is wringing his hands over journalists’ failure to properly vet presidential candidates. John Edwards, he complains, was allowed to get away with lies and indulge in a “compulsive vanity that left some people close to him questioning his judgment and even his grip on reality”. And “that failure is worrisome in a changed political world” in which politicians can quickly gain a lot of popular support without necessarily having much credibility or substance. He goes on to quote Marc Ambinder on those who helped to shield Edwards’ bizarre obsessions and manipulative behavior from scrutiny: “If you enable it, you are responsible in some ways for the fallout.”

This is the same Politico that made itself utterly notorious during 2009 by serving as an uncritical mouthpiece for the dishonest, vacuous, and tendentious ravings leveled by Dick Cheney against the new administration. The former vice president’s disdain for the truth has been exposed so many times over the years that you’d think no journalists would grant him much credibility on anything, least of all any topic where he has an axe to grind. And yet, even when exposed to withering criticism from all sides for serving as Cheney’s stenographers, Politico continues to try to defend their news judgment and, yes, even Cheney’s grip on reality.

Last month Jason Linkins put his finger on the main reason why Politico has persisted in this tawdry love affair with Cheney:

If it were possible to, say, hog-tie [Politico editor] John Harris with Wonder Woman's truth-compelling Golden Lasso, here's what he'd say about the Politico and Dick Cheney: the paper and the former vice president are in a co-dependent, enabling relationship. Cheney is willing to provide the paper with exclusive commentary on topics of his choosing, that Politico can then use to garner page views and attention from other media outlets, who deem the things Cheney says to be newsworthy. The cost that Cheney exacts from Politico is the promise to not apply any sort of critical thought to his ramblings. And so, the two combine to create mutually beneficial, journalism-like word salsa, contrived and calibrated for maximum attention-getting.

Then, Cheney goes back to his hidey-hole, where he can avoid confrontation.

Lies, compulsive vanity, poor judgment, weak grip on reality, lack of credibility and substance. If only they could fit all that on the masthead over at Politico, they’d really be cooking.

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