Our Pathetic Press

On Wednesday, Paul wrote about our chickenshit press being terrified of criticizing the president, even in spite of the nine gazillion reasons he’s a miserable failure, at least half of which Paul listed, illustrating how truly inexplicable it is that they continue to extol someone who is manifestly undeserving of praise. Why? Paul wanted to know, and rightly so. Why, oh, why is the media so afraid of this man? Poor, dear Spudsy—I could feel the reverberations of his frustrated head-banging session from 30 miles away. I banged back to let him know I felt his pain—kind of like smoke signals for bewildered liberals. But I couldn’t answer his question.

Mannion set to work on answering it, though, and has posted Parts One and Two of what will be at least a three-part series. He’s kind of thinking that it’s not that the press is afraid—although that may be part of it—as much as that, once they committed to championing Bush, they decided they’d better stick with him, come hell or high gas prices, lest they be obliged to admit they were wrong. Mannion thinks it all started in 1992, with a fella you may have heard of, called Bill Clinton. (Hop on over to his juke joint and follow the path he neatly clears.)

I’ll be honest—I hadn’t the foggiest clue why our press is so enamored with Bush. It made not the slightest bit of sense to me. They’re afraid…they’re stubborn…any explanation seemed as viable as the next (although I tended to bestow particular favor upon the “remember who they work for” rationale). Still, none of it really ever really seemed to provide a truly satisfactory answer. Until I read this:
About 50 members of the White House press corps accepted President Bush's invitation last night to come over to his house in Crawford, eat his food, drink his booze, hang around the pool and schmooze with him -- while promising not to tell anyone what he said afterward.

It's something of a Bush tradition, a way of saying thank you to journalists for whom an extended stay in the Crawford area is anything but a vacation.
You with me so far? Reporters are getting rewarded for doing their jobs. And rewarded pretty finely, at that, eating dinner poolside and discussing “the antiwar protests, the twins, sports, and Bush's summer reading list” with the president. (Yeah, I believe that last one is bullshit, too.) I’m thinking “conflicts of interest” might have made an interesting topic of conversation; it’s certainly something the pres and the press have in common.
…I'm told that several reporters expressed squeamishness about last night's event, particularly as the press-pool vans drove by antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan's "Camp Casey" site. And later, a small handful watched askance as the rest fawned over Bush, following him around in packs every time he moved.
Now this makes sense to me. They’re not scared of him, or afraid to admit errors, or anything even marginally more complex than starfucking—the same kind of underserved hero worship that can be found in any high school anywhere in America. Bush is the popular bully, and the White House Press Corps is a collection of kids who are desperate to be cool by association. Heck, he even gives them nicknames. So captivated by the opportunity to be liked by the popular kid, they’ve failed to notice he’s not all that popular anymore. They’re each like the one guy who remains friends with the former high school football star long after graduation, still telling stories about his decades-old touchdowns in the local bar and defending him against criticism, even as he’s hauled off in handcuffs after knocking his wife around. It’s not fear, or contempt, or wanting access—it’s just plan old-fashioned awe. It has everything to do with his simply being president, and not a thing to do with whether he’s any damn good at it.

They’ve got a crush on him, and damnit if crushes don’t turn a person into a fool faster than just about anything else.

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