What is the one thing that will anger a journalist faster than anything else?
Telling him that he is not important.
Last night Governor Sarah Palin said, “I am not going to Washington to seek [journalists’] good opinion.” No line could be more calculated to set off a flurry of fluster and flummery among the elite media. This means war.
She should have done what the other guy did and coddled reporters, sweet-talked them, gave them the precious gift of “access”.
Obama was more savvy. And lo, He gathered them—every major “non-biased” journalist in the country—and brought them on his victory tour of Europe. He gave them then and gives them now minute-by-minute access to his Grand Personage.
Obama’s master move, however, was to tell the media exactly what it wants to hear: “You guys are smart. You know what is right. Your ideas are important.”
See, what happens is something like this. A newly fledged reporter starts covering events. She writes down what has happened at some function so that others can read about it. The events and functions are important, so the reporter begins to feel that she is important. As time passes and more events are covered, our journalist begins to second guess the actions of those on whom she reports. She supports some of those actions, and disapproves of others. The temptation to interdict between the truly important people and her audience becomes overwhelming and she gives in. She begins to editorialize, to selectively include and exclude, and finally to advocate.
Because reporters cover weighty, influential, and serious matters they come to believe that they themselves are weighty, influential, and serious.
The fallacy is obvious.
The reason the media is now so apoplectic in its uncivilized, sexist, and ridiculous attacks on Governor Palin is because of just one thing. Petulance.
The main stream media is having a tantrum. They want to be told again that they are as important as they think they are. They are livid that anybody could not see this and they won’t stop screaming until they get their way.
Is it any wonder, then, that more and more people are switching them off and turning to alternatives?