Saturday, November 19, 2005

Digby nails it

As he usually does.
If politicians and the press want to know why they get no respect from the people, this is why. They openly defend dirty politics, pooh-pooh our outrage against it, and then expect us to look up to them.

Bob Woodward and Richard Cohen think that Fitzgerald is some sort of obsessed Javert chasing down the poor journalists and their sources over a little loaf of DC's staff of life --- the politics of personal destruction. To the rest of us, it's clear that the law is the only institution left capable of sorting out the truth now that the press and the politicians are so cozy that it literally takes a threat of jail to get journalists to report important stories about our most powerful leaders.

Bob Woodward very likely knew on the day that Novak revealed that Wilson's wife was CIA that this was a coordinated leak, not idle gossip. He most certainly knew that it was a coordinated leak when he found out that Libby and Rove had both "idly gossipped" about this to other reporters. Yet in his media appearances he made it quite clear that he believes that it was a trivial matter. I think we must take him at his word.

The elite press corps see the Nixonian dirty politics that have completely distorted our political discourse over the last 30 years as social currency. Swift-boating and McCain's black daughter and Linda Trip's tapes and Al Gore's suits are entertainment to them and the dissemination of this entertainment buys them access for what they think are their "serious" stories. We are told to just "get over" partisan impeachments, stolen elections and even lying about nuclear weapons.

Richard Cohen and his ilk believed that dirty politics are what Washington "does" the way that Hollywood makes movies or Detroit makes cars while the rest of us rubes maintained the strange belief that Washington is supposed to serve the people. That's the heart of this crisis in journalism. The elite press corps have completely missed the biggest political story of the last quarter century because they were having so much fun laughing and cavorting with their Republican sources that they failed to see that a powerful, criminal political machine was built upon the "trivial" acts of character assassination they found so amusing.


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