Last Tuesday, the great Glenn Greenwald wrote a terrific piece titled “The Media’s Understanding of its Role.” The story was based on CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry’s idiotic defense of the White House Press Corps’ cozy relationship with the very people they are (in theory) paid to hold accountable. Greenwald was commenting on Henry’s interview with NPR’s Brooke Gladstone, on her media watchdog program called On the Media. In the interview, Gladstone made the (excruciatingly obvious) point that one would have to be either brain dead, or a lying sack of shit (my characterization) to defend the notion that Joe Biden invited the Press Corps to his backyard beach party, to have super-soaker battles with Rahm Emanuel, for any reason other than to curry favor with the “journalists.”
Here’s one vital exchange from the interview:
BROOKE GLADSTONE: “If these events don’t influence coverage, why do you think the White House throws them? Do they just want to shoot you with a super-soaker?”
ED HENRY: “Maybe they wanna actually get to know us as people sometimes.”
And Henry was serious.
Earlier in the interview, Gladstone made this very important point:
“I worked there (Washington) for 13 years, and it’s all about access. It’s not so much about digging, especially within the actual White House press corps itself. It’s about returned calls. And that’s a transaction.”
Gladstone was clearly implying (based on her own experience) that in Henry’s line of work, access is granted at a price, and that in this particular instance, the beach party was a bribe with expectations attached. As a former insider, Gladstone seems to know what she’s talking about, and as I said above, only a liar or an idiot would pretend that it was anything else.
And speaking of the White House press corp, I’m reminded of a story that broke last year regarding former White House Press Corps lackey and current softball pitcher for Meet the Press, David Gregory, who never asked a tough, pointed question in his entire life. Do you remember the Mark Sanford scandal? The one where the South Carolina Governor claimed that he was “hiking in the Appalachians” for four days while he was really gallivanting around Argentina with a woman other than his wife? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not getting all holier than thou about his extramarital indiscretion. In fact, I don’t care if Sanford was greasing his head with lard and inserting it into a horse’s ass. My point here is the email that Sanford received from the great David Gregory, in which Gregory virtually guaranteed a soft, controlled interview:
“Left you a message. Wanted you to hear directly from me that I want to have the Gov on Sunday on Meet The Press. I think it’s exactly the right forum to answer the questions about his trip as well as giving him a platform to discuss the economy/stimulus and the future of the party. You know he will get a fair shake from me and coming on MTP puts all of this to rest.
… So coming on Meet The Press allows you to frame the conversation how you really want to…and then move on. You can see (sic) you have done your interview and then move on. Consider it.”
Which brings me to the real reason for this post, which is this completely awesome student Journalist from Tempe Arizona’s Corona del Sol High School. And I capitalized the word “Journalist” on purpose, because this kid just might be the last of a dying breed. I have the distinct feeling that he’d make Greenwald proud. This video made my week!