The Corner

Answer: No

That’s in response to Andy’s question:

First, does the White House press corps have any self-respect? Sometime during the administration of that other Clinton, these journalists went from seeing their job as watchdog keeping democratic government honest to admiring raconteurs of how artfully the were lied to. 

Not only that — sometime during that other Clinton administration, they went from alleged watchdogs to active participants in the administration itself — this guy, for example — and once it was out of power, they either rotated back into the media or parked themselves in various think-tank sinecures while they waited for the next Democratic administration to come around, with dreams of working in the White House or State dancing in their heads. If you don’t think Pinch Sulzberger views his job as partly political, you don’t know the senior management of the New York Times.

Of course, an equally valid answer is “yes,” in the sense that they tend to have extremely high opinions of themselves, and view the Fourth Estate as just another arm of the Democratic party and a Democratic administration. That’s in part because they all know each other, went to the same colleges and universities, live in the same neighborhoods in Manhattan and Washington, have weekend houses in the same towns in rural Virginia or Long Island or Litchfield County, Conn., and send their kids to the same prep schools; for them, the personal really is political, and vice versa. The quaint notion that reporters ought to stand forever outside the system is entirely incomprehensible to them; after all, they’re coevals, so to speak.

In short, Abe Rosenthal’s famous formulation is now gleefully forgotten, although the chances of any political journalist sleeping with an elephant these days is pretty much nil.


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