Yesterday Hewitt interviewed New Yorker political journalist Ryan Lizza. I am certain that Mr. Lizza considers himself, and his fellow D.C. Journalists to be fair-minded and unbiased workers acting in good faith. Nevertheless I found the following exchanges revealing:
HH: Yes, but that, is it up to the media to decide that one way or the other? Or should they just be reporting what the Republican candidates…should they in any way be interpreted…
RL: No, see…look, you’ll get people who disagree with this, but I’m a big believer in a kind of journalism where you go out, obviously talk to both sides, obviously become as much of an expert on the issue as you can, but at the end of the day, try and give your readers, to try and tell you readers where the balance of evidence is on an issue. And not every issue is going to be like that, because some are too difficult to mediate. But a lot of issue are. There are a lot of issues where you can sort of come up with the truth of the issue, come out at the truth of an issue, and don’t have to just do he said/she said journalism.
Mr. Lizza never explains why he believes that he is qualified more than anyone else to “sort of come up with the truth of the issue”.
RL: I think part of the reason is if you, you know, most political reporters don’t feel, and I should say look, the Times did a big story on the front page about the EMP and Iran. There are obviously exceptions. But the main political press, for whatever reason, they don’t feel as qualified to weigh into those policy debates as they do to do a back and forth story about Democrats bashing Romney on the $10,000 dollar…
HH: Oh, so it’s actually kind of modesty at work?
RL: No, you know what I think it is? For a political story to take off, you’ve got to have another side bashing it. So immediately you had the DNC bashing Mitt over the $10,000 dollar thing. That creates a story. You didn’t have Democrats really bashing on the Palestinian issue, or Iran, or any of the other stuff. And that’s what drives coverage, is conflict like that. So in a weird way, it allows the DNC to decide kind of what the news is, because they’re the ones that would push the criticism that are going to create conflict stories.
In the audio for this last bit you can hear Lizza’s voice change as he realizes either that he and his fellow journalists were being played by the DNC ,or at that he was admitting that he and his fellow journalists were being played by the DNC.
HH: Ryan Lizza, I appreciate you coming on. I want to close by going back to that subject. In the run up to World War II, the BBC and the Times of London provided complete cover for Stanley Baldwin, and then Neville Chamberlain, in the policy of appeasement. This past week, the President of the United States was obliged to say bin Laden doesn’t think I’m an appeaser, which is a complete misreading of history. I don’t think the President understands what appeasement is. But then Rick Perry comes along, and others come along, and talk about this drone being down, and I wonder. Do you worry ever that elite media, with this President, is simply not pushing hard enough on the most important stories, and that they’re falling into BBC/Times of London land?
RL: Look, there’s…I don’t’ think this is a party thing. I think this is a power thing. And I think the Beltway media always has to be careful about not aggressively whoever is in power. And you know, there are a lot of people who thought that that was a problem in the Bush era. A lot of people who thought the run up to the Iraq war, some of the voices that were skeptical about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction capability weren’t listened to, and that the press was sort of used by the administration. So I would never say that that’s not a possibility. But specifically on the spy plane falling down? I don’t see, so far, that a spy plane being captured and not destroyed by the U.S, I don’t see the media falling down on the job there. What’s the case that they have?
I’m not sure what to think of this, or rather, I don’t like the implications of “And I think the Beltway media always has to be careful about not aggressively whoever is in power. And you know, there are a lot of people who thought that that was a problem in the Bush era. A lot of people who thought the run up to the Iraq war, some of the voices that were skeptical about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction capability weren’t listened to, and that the press was sort of used by the administration.”
Every administration has used the press to promote their policy goals. Every single one. It was clear by the actions of some journalists that in this case they considered the offense so greivous that they would give cover to politicians who wanted to lose the war so they could blame the failure on the Bush administration.
Transcript here: http://www.hughhewitt.com/transcripts.aspx?id=903695a5-2b56-434c-92b6-2b95b9907822