Ed Driscoll

Blows Against The Empire

You may have heard John Bolton’s brief BBC interview in May, in which the sparks really flew–when confronted with a hard-left “reporter”, Bolton fired back at virtually all of his assumptions. While Jack Tapper’s tone is nowhere near as arch as the perpetually-sneering BBC man that Bolton sparred with, think of Hugh Hewitt’s hour-long interview with Tapper as the long-form Director’s Cut edition.

What ties both interviews together are the moments when each network journalist is confronted with questions about his biases, and those of his employers. Hugh was interviewed by Tapper ostensibly to discuss his new book on Mitt Romney, and Romney’s Mormon faith. And to the extent that we’re electing someone to wield enormous power on a world scale, I understand the media’s obsession with uncovering as much as possible about that person’s religious beliefs and worldview.

But elite journalists have some impressive power as well. Walter Cronkite’s views on the Tet Offensive, though wrong, were enough to cause Lyndon Johnson not to run in 1968, and led to an erosion of public confidence in the Vietnam War. Dan Rather deliberately tried to influence the 2004 election with falsified documents. But while the MSM’s power has faded in recent years as alternative media have helped to dilute and diversify the “parliament of clocks” monolithic nature of the MSM, as Peggy Noonan wrote after Hurricane Katrina, they can still greatly influence public opinion.

Which is why Tapper’s deliberate naivet