(Photo via Wonkette.)
I saw Charlie Rose interview David Gregory chief White House correspondent of NBC last night. For me the jury has been out on Gregory. Sometimes when he is asking questions at a presser, he seems like he understands what’s going on. But often when he gives his reports on TV, he comes across as completely vapid. So I watched his segment on Rose with interest. It was very much a pseudo-thoughtful discussion of the stories surrounding the Bush Presidency by two pseudo-thoughtful men. Issue after issue they discussed without ever once stumbling upon its salient point.
These are two men who sound reasoned as long as you don’t look too closely at just how muddleheaded and intellectually lazy their thinking is. Neither gets the crux of the attorney firings scandal, that political appointments are not meant to be blank checks to stack positions of trust with partisan hacks and political cronies. On Iraq, Gregory portrays Bush and Rice as two innocents left to the mercies of Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Powell, but moments later says that people don’t realize how thoughtful Bush is on the issues. Rose chimes in agreeing. It was really there they lost me.
Bush being thoughtful must be the best kept secret in Washington. Just think how he has managed to hide any evidence of it for 6 long years.
Listening to them, I came to the conclusion that these are two comfortable, immensely self-satisfied guys who have learned the great secret of American journalism in the present age. It is enough to see the trees, don’t bother about the forest. And they don’t.
They are totally oblivious to the fact that Bush is angling for the spot of worst President in our 200 year plus history, that the Iraq war (4 years and counting) is a failure, and that the hallmarks of the Bush Presidency are cronyism, corruption, criminality, and incompetence. None of this affects or informs their journalism. We live in disturbed and disturbing times yet Rose, Gregory, and so many other journalists are far too comfortable to notice. For them it is always business as usual no matter how unusual events become. Bush can inflict any disaster on us or on the world and in their narcotized state it all appears normal. Bush is misunderstood, thoughtful, maybe a trifle naive, but well meaning. In such a light, to tie Bush to the long litany of his scandals and disasters seems a bit much, a bit mean.
In short, they don’t see the obvious around them because they don’t want to see it, they don’t want to know. They don’t want to rock the boats of the powerful because they are mortally afraid the powerful will rock theirs. Journalism has become not a den of muckrakers but a refuge for the Sergeant Schultzes of this world. They go along to get along. They have learned the secret to success is to be ineffective. And how very, very successful they are.