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Ed Driscoll

Big Journalism’s Bronx Cheer For The Common Man

December 9th, 2008 - 1:41 pm

As that hoary old newspaper cliche goes, the goal of journalism is “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable”, a statement that makes a hash of any mid-20th century claims to “objectivity.” But in the past, most journalists, print or video, paid lip service to the idea of being a champion of the little guy, the working man, Joe Six Pack, or whatever that particular week’s fabulously outdated and only mildly paternalistic reference to Middle America was.

But that was a long time ago. On Sunday, Tom Brokaw suggested that President Elect Obama tank the economy even more, by sticking it to commuters’ wallets:

Let’s talk for a moment about consumer responsibility when it comes to the auto industries. As soon as gas prices dropped, consumers moved back to the larger cars once again. The SUVs are the big gas consumers. Why not take this opportunity to put a tax on gasoline, bump it back up to $4 a gallon where people were prepared to pay for that, and use that revenue for alternative energy and as a signal to the consumers: “Those days are gone. We’re not going to have gasoline that you could just fill up your tank for 20 bucks anymore.”

And of course, the Washington Post is also pretty cool with that idea.

Meanwhile, rather than letting the marketplace decide who sells books and who doesn’t, New York Times columnist Timothy Egan doesn’t want anyone infringing on his turf:

The unlicensed pipe fitter known as Joe the Plumber is out with a book this month, just as the last seconds on his 15 minutes are slipping away. I have a question for Joe: Do you want me to fix your leaky toilet?

I didn’t think so. And I don’t want you writing books.

Gosh, there’s a shocker; Tim Blair makes quick work of Egan’s arrogance–but it’s merely the latest reminder that newspapers in general really don’t want any competition for their territory.

Of course, they’re not alone in that department.

Update: Not surprisingly, Iowahawk has a few japes at Egan’s expense: “Silly Plumber, Lit Is For Crits!

Update: An establishment groupthink trifecta! In late 2008, the New York Times was also onboard with additional gas taxes during a steep recession.

Very Late Update (12/28/09): The more things change, the more the Times remains the same.