Monday, June 12, 2006

Greg Sargent describes the media's treatment of Clinton's presidency, as compared to Bush's:
For literally years the press struggled mightly through sheer force of will and imagination to turn a fantasy-scandal (Whitewater) into a real live one. That effort failed, but no matter. Throughout it all, the press still happily conferred legitimacy on a hyper-partisan dragnet investigation whose real purpose was to find something, anything at all, that might destroy the Clinton Presidency. In exchange for that stamp of approval, Ken Starr's office fed the media a never-ending banquet of leaks that allowed reporters to spend months on end peddling frivolous tales of White House sexual misbehavor.

Meanwhile, the most powerful and respected journalistic institution in the land (The Times) wrote a series of relentless anti-Clinton editorials which legitimized the GOP's impeachment charade. And as a kind of good-riddance coup de grace, the media was relentlessly unfair to Clinton's would-be successor (Al Gore), costing him the 2000 Presidential election and giving us the Bush era.

Is there anyone who really thinks any sustained press coverage of Bush has been comparable to that performance? If so, he or she should read this dissection of the differences between coverage of the two eras, which shows that the big news orgs devoted way more journalistic resources to covering Whitewater than to far more consequential Bush scandals.

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