“The business of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. — Finley Peter Dunne, turn of the 20th century.
“It is the prime function of a really first-rate newspaper to serve as a sort of permanent opposition in politics.” — H.L. Mencken, the 1920s.
Contrast that with today’s media, as Brit Hume noted on Monday:
“So the president’s aides appear on other news channels to say that Fox, unlike those outlets, is really not a news organization but an arm of the Republican Party. One wonders how our colleagues at CNN and elsewhere like being patted on the head and given the seal of approval by the White House. These outlets already stand accused of being in the tank for Mr. Obama. Do they really want to open themselves up to more such criticism by ignoring legitimate stories because they originate here?”
But there’s a reason for the legacy media’s madness. As the Gipper famously said in 1986, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” With the sclerotic old media now in its dotage, if they don’t suck up to the state, who’s going to subsidize them and keep the lights on at the taxpayers’ expense?
On the other hand, regarding the White House itself, “When you’ve got the Helen Thomas, the NYT, and The Nation lining up against you, it’s time to admit defeat, boys,” Mary Katharine Ham sagely writes, adding, “But alas, Axelrod and Emanuel can’t help themselves.”