Saturday, February 18, 2006

"Think of how we feel..."

I've been looking all over for a transcript of a little "think-piece" by NPR's Daniel Schorr that my husband heard yesterday. (A brave man, he - my husband, not Schorr - also listens to Air America at times.) Apparently, it went something like this (please note that there isn't a real quote in this whole post; I'm setting apart the paraphrase so it's clear that it isn't me, that's all):

Some people have been saying that the news media have acted like spoiled children over Cheney's hunting accident and the delay in notifying them. Think of how we feel: most Vice Presidents throughout our history have clamored for press coverage and complained when they didn't receive enough. After all, most have been poised to run for President as a successor to the incumbent. Dick Cheney is a notable exception, Not only is he completely uninterested in running for President, but he's also the most powerful and the most secretive Vice President ever. I guarantee that there isn't a Vice Presidential desk at any major news outlet, five years into this administration, because as [someone or other] quipped, "That desk would be like the Maytag repairman!"

"Stop the tape!" as my sole source of hard news, Rush Limbaugh, says (heavy-handed irony alert). Apparently, according to Schorr, the response of the intrepid members of the Fourth Estate to a secretive and powerful (and distrusted - by them at any rate - and not well-liked) high elected official is to shrug and wander off, dejected, rather than to follow him around, keep on calling his staffers, and basically be journalists rather than stenographers.

The upshot of the piece, and again I apologize for not having an actual transcript and going from my husband's notoriously imperfect memory, appears to be that we should understand and feel sorry for the White House press corps, because they abdicated what they so often claim as their right on behalf of the American people but I think would be more accurately termed their job to dig out true stories and report them. Let me repeat: faced with an unusually powerful and secretive vice president - recall that Teddy Roosevelt was originally stuck in the Veep seat by his own party to sideline him, since the position was considered about as powerful as that of a queen who's already produced the heir and the spare - the press corps packed up their Vice Presidential desks and resigned themselves to Four More Years! of doing little besides attending the Monday morning press briefings and the occasional cocktail party.

Oh, I understand, all right. Nice work if you can get it.

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