Glenn Greenwald notes the bizzare reality of American mainstream media’s obsequiousness towards political leaders (and though he doesn’t say it, particularly towards the more authoritarian ones who insist on regal treatment, like Cheney). Rather odd but compelling to imagine that had the Brits won the Revolutionary War, America would likely have had a much better press corps.
Journalists love to depict themselves as hard-nosed, rambunctious, ornery adversaries of establishment orthodoxies and political power. The reality is the opposite: there simply is no class of people more reverent of the political establishment and more devoted to protecting and defending its prerogatives. Of all people, journalists ought to be embarrassed to publicly play the role of decorum enforcers when it comes to how the politically powerful are treated. They should be the last ones — not the first ones — demanding that controversial political figures be treated with the type of profound reverence typically reserved for religious leaders and monarchs. Identically, in the most minimally healthy political culture, high political leaders would be the least entitled, not the most entitled, to be shielded from cutting political criticism.
Let me add a further note on what Greenwald writes at the very bottom of that piece:
More to the point: imagine what things might be like if TV journalists had shown just a fraction of the interest in, and outrage over, Dick Cheney’s torture and chronic lawbreaking as they have for these petty offenses to his honor and good name.
This is a reflection of a serious and crippling facet of Washington-based media – the avoidance of the really tough moral dilemmas that arise from America’s footprint in the world and the cowardly concentration on insider minutiae.