Thursday, July 03, 2003

from Eric Boelert's recent Salon article about the free ride Dubya gets from the press:

With the Bush administration leading an ongoing war on terror, it's possible that journalists, at least subconsciously, do not want to publicly question the president's character. "There's a huge psychological need to believe and trust your president when we're being told every day we may be attacked by terrorists," says Emmy Award-winning journalist James Moore, a coauthor of "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential." "But I think there's a dangerous mentality among the press that says, Well, yeah, he needed to exaggerate to go after Saddam Hussein, but that's OK because it's for the good of the country and we shouldn't hold him accountable."

"I believe the press is in awe of the Bush juggernaut," adds Jay Rosen, chairman of New York University's journalism department. "Journalists respect a winner and those they think of as savvy and effective. Besides, what's a worse crime according to journalists, shading the truth or being naive about the way the world really works? It's definitely the latter."

Or maybe some journalists who covered the 2000 race don't want to concede they made a mistake. "They would have to admit they were duped by an exaggerator," says Moore. Either way, today's blatant double standard over exaggerations is not reserved for Gore's hard-luck campaign. It's part of a larger pattern in how the press treats Democratic candidates tougher than it treats Republicans...