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April 30, 2009

The Role Of The Press Is To Challenge Authority

And the best way to challenge authority is to be lavishly feted at friendly 'off the record' meals, of course.

For more than a year, David Bradley, the Atlantic's soft-spoken owner, has hosted these off-the-record dinners at a specially built table in his glass-enclosed office overlooking the Potomac. And the guests, from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to Jordan's King Abdullah II, are as A-list as they come.

"It's just a joy for me," Bradley says. "These are reflective, considered conversations, which is hard to do when you're going after headlines for the next day's publication." While the guests seem quite open, says the businessman who bought Atlantic a decade ago, he is new enough to journalism "that I can't tell the difference between genuine candor and deeply rehearsed candor."

Emanuel says he enjoyed the chance to "put aside the adversarial. . . . I tried to be honest and frank and hope they felt that way. They want context, they want thinking. You're not selling, you're presenting."

No, you're definitely selling. Because they're buying. Everything.

Folks, please read the whole thing. It's disgusting.

From slublog:

Remember the days when a conservative reporter showing up and asking a question at the White House was cause for major freakout among the left?

GANNON!

Precisely. ONE single sympathetic question to a Republican President caused a furor.

Now, imagine George W. Bush looking out during a press conference and seeing a sea of Gannons willing to craft creampuff after creampuff for the President to swat out of the park.

And that his appointees meet with these Gannons at luxe private dinners, and establish a private website (like Journolist) where they can discuss their scary-smart ideas with a gaggle of sympathetic Gannons.

These Gannons, in order to preserve their 'special access,' will not commit the atrocity of holding these officials to their word in public.

That's pretty much what's going on, yes?

May I ask what purpose this special access serves if it does not inform the public?

It's much like CNN having special access in Iraq before the war, but only using it to report what their handlers allowed them to see. That's not really access, of course. It's merely some variety of whoredom to power. What good is being a witness if you never testify?

Special access is prized by the press, because they get to feel Very Important, a friend of the elite, a member of the club. They get to hear and treasure tasty little secrets and exclusive details, as long as they can keep their mouths shut.

And granting special access is prized by government elites, because they get to transform annoying reporters into friendly little sockpuppets.


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posted by LauraW. at 11:41 AM

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