Wednesday, February 07, 2007

If You Can Make It There...

There's much which could be said about Garance's post, but I think I'll highlight what commenter Mark writes:

What we should be discussing is the far more interesting and important fact that GFR, a professional journalist, easily admits to: if you wish to rise as a political journalist, you must watch what you say.

The idea that journalists regularly suppress information and opinion that displeases their superiors is something usually voiced only by outsider cynics. It's both refreshing and enlightening then to see this fact established by a bona-fide member of the trade, who presumably practices what she preaches.

...adding, Garance responds:

Actually, I meant politics, as practiced by people who run campaigns and hold elective office. Political journalism is -- or at least used to be -- different.

I'm not really quite sure who qualifies as "people who run campaigns," but over the past few years I've had several people tell me that it's part of the accepted rulebook that low level congressional and campaign staffers aren't subject to the same kind of scrutiny - either by journalists or political operatives - that high level people and actual politicians are. There is a recognition, or was, that barring egregious criminal conduct or similar young people in relatively unimportant positions aren't really "newsmakers" and therefore can't really make news. Obviously blogging and the internet generally has made a mess of what were traditionally understood public and private spaces, but I'm still not sure why anyone working on a campaign is subject to the type of scrutiny which they were previously largely immune from.

Maybe political operatives are going to try to create controversy however they can - again, in the pre-blog days I gather they didn't - but that doesn't mean that Wolf Blitzer and the NYT have to bless their efforts.