Center for Citizen Media Rotating Header Image

Why People Consider Journalists Lower Than Dirt, Part 83,704

Dean Reynolds, CBS News: Reporter’s Notebook: Seeing How The Other Half Lives – From The Road: Maybe a front-running campaign like Obama’s that is focused solely on victory doesn’t have the time to do the mundane things like print up schedules or attend to the needs of reporters. But in politics, everything that goes around comes around.

This is a threat to punish Obama with negative coverage because his staff is not as, whimper, attentive to reporters as it should be. Because the candidate has a fuller schedule that leaves less time for “relaxing,” as the journalist says.

Oh, the humanity!

This is reminiscent of the 2000 campaign, when Al Gore was insufficiently fawning of the press and when the Bush campaign realized that if you cater to the physical needs of the reporters they’ll file more friendly stories. Bush pretended to personally like the reporters, while Gore made no secret of his overall disdain for shallow political coverage.

Guess whose coverage was vastly more friendly. Yep.

What this says about journalistic integrity is frightening, but it’s a reality.

8 Comments on “Why People Consider Journalists Lower Than Dirt, Part 83,704”

  1. #1 Jeremy K
    on Oct 9th, 2008 at 10:31 am

    oh, that’s an awful, prissy, “my caviar is the wrong temperature” whining session that you’ve linked to.

    on the other hand, 80%+ of the *comments* to that post reflect why so many print journalists hate and fear the blog community.

  2. #2 Jon Garfunkel
    on Oct 14th, 2008 at 8:08 pm


    This is rather trite.
    A few years back, the media-transparency community made common allies with the blogging-evangelist group on this: journalists no longer had any excuse to hide their biases. The weblog seemed like the obvious place for the reporter to explain any biases.

    Now, it would be far-fetched if every journalist explained who they voted for. And unnecessary, since the Hugh Hewitt school is convinced that the press is unapologetically liberal. At best, journalists should report these little things which *might* effect their reporting. That’s what Reynolds did here.

    Now, this was a measly blog post; Reynolds did not even venture as to whether this quid pro quo was actually taking place vis-a-vis Obama. His press coverage has been generally favorable — just ask Steve Schmidt of the McCain campaign.

    On the other hand, McCain dissed Letterman, and Palin has limited herself to 2 new interviews. Using your logic above, would you fault the press for raking her over the coals? Obviously we expect the press to be fair, but if the candidate isn’t being helpful, should we be surprised?

    And overall, is this *really* driving hatred of the media? Conservatives hate the press as they since Reed Irvine started banging the gong 4 decades ago. Liberal activists dislike the press for insufficiently addressing particular causes, and not impeaching Bush/Cheney right now. There may be a class issue that Tom Brokaw (or Bill O’Reilly) can get a table at Le Cirque and we can’t, but otherwise, is this really a big deal?

    Occasionally in America, people stand up and say, “Because of X I can’t do my job as effectively as I’d like.” That rarely wins fans, but being honest hardly ever does.

  3. #3 Dan Gillmor
    on Oct 15th, 2008 at 6:33 am

    I’d probably support a journalist who said, “Because Palin won’t answer any questions we’ll just stop covering her.” That would have a certain integrity.

    But when someone threatens poor coverage because the plane is dirty and there’s too little time to file stories, that’s petty and unprofessional.

  4. #4 Jon Garfunkel
    on Oct 15th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Reynolds wrote, “everything that goes around comes around.” Does that imply a threat? I don’t think so, but maybe another editor would have toned it down.

    But wait– it’s a BLOG. We’ve been asking reporters to BLOG so they can finally be frank and talk about what’s on their mind that would otherwise be whitewashed by editors.

    Few people would have even come across this story post if Matt Drudge hadn’t slapped a non-too-subtle link to it: “CBS REPORTER SHOCK CLAIM: OBAMA AIRPLANE SMELLS BAD; CAMPAIGN TREATS PRESS POORLY…”

    1,368 comments were left. His previous blog post 6 days earlier drew 2 comments.

    The lesson here to Dean Reynolds: don’t write anything too honest that will be taken out of context and splashed across a silly Matt Drudge headlinef. In other words, don’t blog.

    And, in the last week, he hasn’t.

  5. #5 Seth Finkelstein
    on Oct 15th, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Isn’t there a double standard here regarding the exhortations of blog-evangelism?

    1) Be open! Naked conversations! Show your flaws! Let the readers know there’s a real person writing!

    2) YOU ARROGANT EGOIST, THIS IS WHY PEOPLE HATE JOURNALISTS!!!! (as opposed to the humble bloggers, especially the A-list ones …).

    That is:

    A-lister’s warts show their charming authenticity.

    A-lister’s denounce other’s warts as showing why they’re considered “lower than dirt”.

    Seems to me there’s a logical problem there (of course, the real resolution is faking sincerity).

  6. #6 Anna Haynes
    on Oct 19th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Link to the Vanity Fair article documenting appalling coverage of Gore by the press –

  7. #7 Anna Haynes
    on Oct 19th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Vanity Fair article documenting appalling coverage of Gore by the press –

    (Dan, did your spam filter eat my first attempt to post this?)

  8. #8 Anna Haynes
    on Oct 19th, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    (mea culpa, attempt #1 had malformed html)