Puppy Dog Journos Protect Poor Dick Cheney from Criticism

Dan Gillmor is a BoingBoing guest-blogger.

Media Puppy DogsFar earlier than anyone in his position in the recent past, former VP Dick Cheney has gone on the attack against the new administration. His anti-Obama remarks the other night, prompted by a CNN interviewer, essentially accused the new president of deliberately making the country less safe. Salon's Glenn Greenwald captures the nauseating way some Washington journalists have rushed to defend Cheney from the well-earned disdain his comments elicited from Obama's press spokesman.

Journalists love to depict themselves as hard-nosed, rambunctious, ornery adversaries of establishment orthodoxies and political power. The reality is the opposite: there simply is no class of people more reverent of the political establishment and more devoted to protecting and defending its prerogatives. Of all people, journalists ought to be embarrassed to publicly play the role of decorum enforcers when it comes to how the politically powerful are treated. They should be the last ones -- not the first ones -- demanding that controversial political figures be treated with the type of profound reverence typically reserved for religious leaders and monarchs. Identically, in the most minimally healthy political culture, high political leaders would be the least entitled, not the most entitled, to be shielded from cutting political criticism.

The worst of this is the irony-free zone journalists have created for themselves. Unlike Greenwald, they offer not a shred of context, failing to note the unprecedented (at least in the modern era) way Cheney attacked so early in the new administration.

The Washington press corps continues to embarrass itself.

(Photo by omniNate via Flickr)