Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The King Is A Fink

Laura at 11D has an interesting post:

Watergate was one of those pivotal events in American politics. The presidency and the media were forever changed by Woodward's and Bernstein's article on the Nixon coverup of the bugs in the Democratic headquarters. Their finger prints are found all over Monica Lewinsky's blue dress, the guns given to the Contras, and Gary Hart's boat, "Monkey Business." We no longer look at the president as a hero, as royalty. The president's power has been curtailed, and his prestige forever tarnished.

Watergate was a turning point in that it marked the first time a President was strongarmed out of office, and inspired the press (during certain administrations) to think it could be done again. But it was hardly the first tarnishing of the presidency. The reputation of the presidency has always ebbed and flowed; some administrations are squeaky-clean (Coolidge) and some are dens of corruption (Grant).

Meet the new boss:

After Watergate, the journalist became the hero. He comes in the shape of Robert Redford or Dustin Hoffman and works tirelessly to provide ordinary Americans with THE TRUTH. THE TRUTH is usually that American politicians have feet of clay and that major world events are hatched by small groups of shadowy characters with little concern for the common man.

Same as the old boss:

Blogging has provided a new chapter in the post Watergate world of politics. The NEW TRUTH is that journalists have feet of clay and that major world events are hatched by small groups of shadowy characters with little concern for the common man.

Let's say it outright. Since the Edward R. Murrow era, the conventional media have held the royal aura that Laura ascribes to the presidency. Dan Rather is the new Nixon, LGF and PowerLine are his Woodward and Bernstein, and Microsoft Word is their Deep Throat. Dan wasn't the first journalist to be tarnished by dubious reporting, but his is the most prominent such case.

The blogosphere is too diffuse to inherit such regal awe. It never will, at least not as a whole, since anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can blog. Some are highly popular, but none are too lofty to be fisked by us mere mortals.

Laura then makes this remark:

At least among the conservative bloggers, there is a resuscitation of the old image of the royal president.

Has she paid attention to all to the whirlwind of conservative howls against Dubya for signing McCain Feingold and the steel tariff, establishing the Transportation Safety Administration, making an empty response to the Terri Schiavo crisis, and spending money like a drunk teenager on Spring Break in Cancun with the parents' credit cards? (At least drunken sailors use their own money.) If you want a recent president with a sycophantic following, look at Clinton. How many political careers could ever survive multiple rape allegations?

Nixon grins.


(Hat tip to An Unsealed Room)

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