The Washington Press Corpse

Recently, I asked reporters I know to comment on the dearth of obvious questions being asked by the Washington press corps. Here is the first reply, by a reporter at a local paper in a red state:
Trust me, you're well within your rights to complain about Washington journalists not doing their jobs, and the reason is that WASHINGTON JOURNALISTS AREN'T DOING THEIR JOBS. (Fingers wiggling madly like Lewis Black's.)

I think it's a combination of things. The D.C. press corps is constantly having to put out fires because this administration seems especially skilled at strategic leaks, and they know the media's time constraints better than anyone.

Second, ownership by big media conglomerates mean fewer owners mean a more, shall we say, "conservative" approach to the issues of the day (although I gotta say: the Washington bureau of Knight Ridder, the big media conglomerate that employs my ass, has been ahead of most if not all other American media on the Iraq war; they did a pretty thorough story on the Blair memo Thursday, I think).

Third, I think the administration and their allies at FOX and MSNBC and talk radio have a lot of journalists intimidated. I really do.

There's also what Bob Somerby has described in pretty good detail on The Daily Howler, the kind of "dinner-party centrism" that seems to rule over the Washington press corps. You gotta remember, for most of not all of these people, covering the White House or any branch of the federal government represents a career pinnacle, and the last thing they want to do is fuck it up by standing out and, in their eyes, acting a fool by causing a big stink at a press conference. I'm not saying I'd be any different, although you couldn't pay me enough money to cover the frickin' White House or anything else in D.C. It's a completely different ball game, and thanks, by the way, for making the distinction.
Nota bene: The reporter also commented on the never-ending Gannon story (more on Gannon in the next Vanity Fair, by the way).

Not that Knight-Ridder reporters read this blog (other than the reporter quoted above), but let me just say DUDES! THANK YOU SO MUCH! Warren P. Strobel and John Walcott get the official GOLDEN TWINKIE™ award (because we're poor) for doing the kind of journalism that we desperately need in this time of crisis war impending theocratic takeover plutodemokleptoligarchopunditocracy country right now.

POSSIBLE BONUS FEATURE: If you have any questions for our Mystery Reporter, ask away. I can't promise you'll get an answer, but confidence is high.

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