The Mushroom Treatment: On The Campaign Trail And Afterwards
"The Mushroom Treatment" isn't some throwback to 1960s drug movies. Bruce Dern and Russ Tamblyn don't have cameos. The Urban Dictionary Website (which is sort of like Wikipedia, except that the handshake that it and your computer make before they talk with each other is a lot hipper) defines it thusly:
The act of your upper level management not telling you what you need to know, and anything they do tell you is not true.
The meeting today sure was giving us the mushroom treatment. They have kept us in the dark about what is going on and they keep feeding us a lot of s***!
…it’s sad. The White House press pool is being given the mushroom treatment; and they know that they’re being given the mushroom treatment. But they don’t want to respond appropriately – which is to say, stop letting Robert Gibbs define what are or are not appropriate questions to ask. Until that happens – and the press corps internalizes the notion that Gibbs and the administration needs them a hell of a lot more than they need Gibbs and the administration – they’ll keep getting the mushroom treatment.
I’d be sympathetic, except that elections have consequences.
Hey, it could always be worse: FDR once presented a journalist he particularly loathed with a German Iron Cross at the height of WWII.
And speaking of elections, at Big Journalism, Bob Parks asks: what did the media know about the candidates, and when did they know it?
What if any of the insensitive, possibly racist comments [uttered by Bill Clinton and Harry Reid, and quoted in Game Change] were said by John McCain? Do you honestly think New York Magazine’s John Heilemann and Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin would have sat on it because they were writing a book to be published later, or would they consider incendiary quotes like the ones attributed to Harry Reid uber-newsworthy?Had any disparaging remarks quotes been attributed to John McCain early on, it could’ve cleared the path for Mitt Romney. Would Romney have been robbed of the nomination because of the selective omission by two well-placed reporters? The case could be made.
The problem is the ethical line that’s been crossed by Halperin and Heilemann.
Had it not been for their being writers for New York and Time (two publications not particularly known for fairness to Republicans and/or conservatives), they would never have been granted that kind of access to presidential candidates to gather notes for a book.
During the campaign we heard all about the infighting within the McCain-Palin camp, thus the revelations in the book aren’t new news. Almost all the juicy stuff coming out now via “Game Change” is about Democrats and (under the umbrella of being book authors who apparently whored themselves out) none of it came out until a year and a half after the 2008 presidential election.
If anything, Halperin and Heilemann are guilty of double-dipping as they got paid to cover the campaign and write an “independent” book at the same time. I will give them the same benefit of the doubt I gave Harry Reid as I don’t know what’s in the hearts of any of those involved, but this sure smells like these two reporters chose what they would release, and saved the good stuff for another paying gig.
I find it very hard to believe they’d be so silent about the bombshell contents of an upcoming book if they were privy to quotes that could have sunk a Republican, but maybe that’s the cynic biased journalism has turned us into.
Near the very end of the presidential campaign, Victor Davis Hanson wrote, "Sometime in 2008, journalism as we knew it died, and advocacy media took its place."
Well at least now we know what happened to it -- old media decided to give us version 1.5 of history in hardcover form, long after everyone read the first draft in the Blogosphere first.
Related: "One more from Game Change on Obama", from Rick Moran:
I'll ask the same thing Ed Lasky has been asking about this book; the MSM made a huge deal of how the McCain campaign saw Sarah Palin and what they were saying about her, quoting liberally - and gleefully - from the book.
But in the first 40 pages there are several eye popping accounts of how Obama was seen by his own staff and allies, including this one Ed Lasky sent along:After his election as Senator a lot of requests came in for him to speak..many of them fundraisers for other candidates. They required registration systems be set up that allowed Obama to get the email of all attendees for someone else's event. But that is a digression. His aides were "praying it wouldn't go to Obama's head; his ego was robust enough already. They even conferred on the senator a new nickname: Black Jesus."
Arrogant, sensitive to slights, bored with his job in the senate, and someone with a messianic self-image; a cold, calculating Chicago pol - all of this is of no interest to the MSM?
The Gatekeepers have been working very hard to ignore this.
Maybe they're too busy checking to see if their souls have been fixed yet.