Thursday, January 15, 2004
Bush And The Press

As I was reading my daily blogs this morning, I came across (via Jeff Jarvis) the Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk - a group of journalists dedicated to examining and critiquing journalistic coverage of the 2004 campaign and election. I took a look around, and then added it to my BlogRoll (on the right of the page). This examination of a piece in the New Yorker stood out:

Ken Auletta explores the Bush administration's deeply-held conviction that the press is just another special interest group, not a champion of the public interest.

What is striking is the candid, on-the-record comments that Auletta elicited from adminstration officals, from the top down. Auletta leads off with the following anecdote from a Crawford, Texas barbecue last August:

"During a conversation with reporters (Bush) explained, perhaps without intending to, why his White House often seems indifferent to the press. 'How do you know then what the public thinks?' a reporter asked, according to Bush aides and reporters who heard the exchange. And Bush replied, 'You're making a huge assumption - that you represent what the public thinks."
The entire article is very revealing as to the Bush administration's approach to the press at large. The differences between this President's attitudes and the attitudes of previous elected leaders are quite stark:
Auletta concludes: "For perhaps the first time, the White House has come to see reporters as special pleaders - pleaders for more access and better headlines - as if the press were simply another interest group, and moreover, an interest group that's not nearly as powerful as it once was."
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A webjournal of ideas, comments, and various other miscellany from a Texan university student (with occasional input from his family) living in Toronto, Ontario. Can you say "culture shock?"

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