Ed Driscoll

'Swallow the Scraps Gradly'

As Ed Krayewski writes at Reason’s Hit & Run blog, “CBS Didn’t Treat Super Dome Blackout Like News; Typical of the Relationship Between Media and Power.” Krayewski links to New York Daily News sportswriter Bob Raissman, who noted:

At a time when they should have been aggressively gathering news, CBS’ crew was satisfied with the crumbs the NFL dropped on them. And they swallowed the scraps gladly. Not once during the 34-minute delay did a representative of the National Football League appear on camera to attempt to explain what caused half the Superdome to lose power. Why should they? No one from CBS put any pressure on them.

Krayewski adds:

“Swallowing the scraps gladly” actually makes for a great description of how the mainstream media’s relationship to political power looks. For example, via the Washington Post:

When a reporter gets something wrong or is perceived as being too aggressive, the response is often swift and sometimes at top volume, reporters say.

“They shoot first and ask questions later,” said Julie Mason, who has reported on the George W. Bush and Obama White Houses for the Houston Chronicle, the Washington Examiner and Politico. In one of the e-mails that reporters have dubbed “nastygrams,” White House press secretary Jay Carney branded one of Mason’s stories “partisan, inflammatory and tendentious.” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, reacting to comments Mason made in a TV discussion, sent her an e-mail that included an animated picture of a crying mime — a visual suggestion that she was whining.

And so the media often relies on using kid gloves to retain coveted access to those in power, rather than press for more substance and risk those relationships. See: CBS 60 Minutes interview of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Or a favored liberal who is seeking power, such as Obama in early 2008. The MSM’s love affair with power also helps to explain why the MSM circles the wagons when a fellow old media source gets into hot water, as we’ve seen with both Dan Rather, and much more recently, CNN.