Media Blog

Scott McClellan Burns His Bridges …

… with the press, the only party that really matters. If Bush is the subject of a hatchet-job, everybody yawns. But say a word about the press corps and it’s a fistfight. LA Times:

The Bush White House wasn’t the only crew stung by Scott McClellan’s scorching new memoir about his experiences as the president’s press secretary.

McClellan also lashed out at the Fourth Estate, saying the national press corps “was probably too deferential to the White House” when it came to questioning whether going to war in Iraq was justified.
An unscientific sampling of Washington journalists expressed puzzlement about McClellan’s criticism — or dissed it as downright hooey.
“It’s a stunning and unsupportable statement,” pronounced Mark Knoller, CBS Radio correspondent. “Transcripts of McClellan’s press briefings provide more than ample evidence of the intense scrutiny imposed on the White House and its policies by members of the press. Most days, McClellan left the briefing room lectern positively spent by the pounding he faced from reporters.”

Knoller thinks this is “stunning”? Has he read anything published in the past four years or so? “Too deferential” is the most mildly formulated version of that critique he’ll read. “Lapdogs with laptops” and worse is more like it. Whether one agrees with that characterization of the press or does not, how can anybody who pays attention be “stunned” by the criticism? How could Knoller have missed it?

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