That's the American Mainstream Media Party, a term coined by Newsweek's Howard Fineman and a notion reiterated by the WSJ's James Taranto in our pages this month.
This is not just a matter of "liberal bias." When it comes to matters of war and scandal, journalists see themselves playing a role that is not impartial but adversarial vis-à-vis the government. But the media's adversarial culture asserts itself far more strongly when a Republican is in the White House.
The AMMP's coverage of the Cheney hunting accident has veered — quickly, in less than a day — into the absurd.
Take this Reuters dispatch: "White House takes heat over Cheney shooting mishap." Heat from whom? The press corps, of course! It's a unique pressure group, a lobby for truth, freedom, openness, and the American way. At least that's how they regard themselves. That self-regard is painfully evident in the direction this story is taking: some are reporting on the victim, some on Cheney's hunting manners or abilities, some on hunters' safety guidelines, but most are focused on why the White House delayed telling… the press corps. The press corps is reporting on its own gripe. Sheesh.
The sour grapes can't be hidden within the Reuters story. Reporter Patricia Wilson, in explaining the White House's account for the delay, writes that Cheney and the ranch owner, Katherine Armstrong, agreed that she would release information on the accident, since it happened on her ranch.
Armstrong said it wasn't until Sunday that she telephoned the [
Corpus Christi] Caller-Times. She didn't notify the national media or the White House press corps.
Translation: She didn't call us! We're the first call after 911! And when she did call, she called the local paper. Might as well call the Keystone Kops to defuse a bomb.
For the rest of the world, a world in which life doesn't revolve around the press corps or the AMMP, the day after is a perfectly reasonable delay.
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