The major networks still run evening news shows, but I'm not sure anyone is watching. And their morning installments are more gossip tabloids than anything resembling real news.
Cable networks are struggling too. Fox seems to have found a stable "geezer crowd" that is loyal. But its hard to imagine how they continue that business model into the future. And we're learning that CNN and MSNBC are struggling to find their footing recently.
In often hair-brained attempts to deal with all that, the media has faltered with everything from exploitative reporting following the Boston marathon bombing to the hysteria of being taken in by the lies of Jonathan Karl and ABC News.
And yet it is in the midst of all this that so many in the Washington D.C. media think its wise to go into all-out battle mode with President Obama and the Department of Justice.
Those of you who read here regularly know that I have no love lost for Maureen Dowd. And yet in her latest column, she gives a fascinating window into the world of the D.C. press and what is going on here. That's because she links the current frenzy about the Obama administration's pursuit of leaks to the age-old story about the fact that President Obama doesn't cozy up enough to the insider beltway crowd. She does that via channeling Jonathan Alter. Here's how she starts:
Like many others in our business, Jonathan Alter says he is “on fire” about the Justice Department’s snooping on reporters and attempting to criminalize investigative journalism, including labeling the respected Fox News Washington correspondent James Rosen a “co-conspirator” in a leak investigation.Then she goes on to quote Alter (he has a book coming out) about why the President "disdains" the press. In doing so, she goes back to the same old line she's been peddling for so long now.
Obama is not a needy person, but he needs to think of himself as purer than this town.So somehow in Dowd's petty mind (as well as Alter's) there is a link between President Obama's disdain for the gladhanding power games of the D.C. village and his desire to pursue leaks to the media regarding national security secrets.
He wanted to be, Alter writes, “nontransactional, above the petty deals, ‘donor maintenance,’ and phony friendships of Washington. Here his self-awareness again failed him. In truth, he was all transactional in his work life.”
As Alter observes, “His failure to use the trappings of the presidency more often left him with one less tool in his toolbox.”
Obama did not understand why his stinginess with expressions of gratitude and phone calls could sting, or fathom the thrill of letters from the president.
I'd suggest its the other way around. It is the inability of the media to self-examine their own situation and their lack of connection to the needs of their customers that has led them to be so defensive over this whole issue regarding leaks (and to blindly follow the other "scandals" of hysteria concocted by the GOP).
The only group in politics that the American public thinks less of than Republicans these days is the media. Perhaps journalists should look at how successful the GOP has been in their all-out war with the administration before they attempt to wage one themselves.
Of note would be the recent Quinnipiac poll saying that "73 percent of American voters nationwide believe that dealing with the economy and unemployment should be a higher priority than the investigations." Or perhaps they could suggest that polling like that needs to be "unskewed."