Now That the Election's Safely Over, Liberal Journalists Promise to Maybe Ask Obama a Sternly Worded Question or Two

You didn't really want to keep that Egg McMuffin down, did you? Good! Go read this Politico story about media-progressives and their dearly re-elected leader:

In conversations with POLITICO, some of the left's most influential voices in media said that, with the concerns of re-election over, they intend to be more critical of the president's performance and more aggressive in urging him to pursue a progressive agenda as the clock ticks on his last four years in office.

"Liberals in the media are going to be tougher on Obama and more respectful at the same time," Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker's chief political commentator and a former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, told POLITICO. "He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe….. [but] now liberals don't have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing."

Hendrik Hertzberg, you're fired! At least from any magazine I would edit. Seriously, even if the president is on your team, the project of journalism is incompatible with the bootlicking of power. I am trying to imagine a universe in which President Gary Johnson is given a pass by Reason over maintaining or strengthening federal penalties for cocaine...nope, can't do it.

Glenn Greenwald argues plausibly that the "hurting his chances for re-election" virus quickly becomes fatal in the host:

Once one decides in the name of electoral expediency to abdicate their primary duty as a citizen and especially as a journalist - namely, to hold accountable those who wield the greatest political power - then this becomes a permanent abdication. That's because US politics is essentially one permanent, never-ending election. The 2012 votes were barely counted before the political media began chattering about 2016, and MSNBC is already - as one of its prime time hosts put it - "gearing up" for the 2014 midterm. [...]

There is never any justification for those who work in media or hold themselves out as journalists - as opposed to, say, those who are party apparatchiks - to refrain from holding the nation's most powerful political leaders accountable. 

You can view some artifacts of Hertzberg's abdication here, here, here, here, and here.

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  • WTF||

    "He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe….. [but] now liberals don't have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing."

    DIAF, you mendacious scumbags.

  • playa manhattan||

    P.S. What a punchable face!

  • Drake||

    No way! Some of it might stick to my fist and infect me.

  • General Butt Naked||

    "Quick! Bring the bleach, I've got dogshit all over my hand!"

  • Robert||

    Mr. Welch, you're being unfair. Mr. Hertzberg was describing what "liberals in the media" would to, not commanding or recommending a course of action to them. And he wrote of "liberals in the media", 3rd person, not of himself.

    And I bet you agree with his assessment.

  • Robert||

    In other words, you're blaming the messenger. It's a prediction, not a promise.

  • R C Dean||

    And certain commenters larfed at me for calling it the Dem Op media.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Not me, I laughed at you for a myriad of other, more hilarious, reasons.

  • Lord Humungus||

    like his addiction to balloon porn?

  • General Butt Naked||

    POP!

    He'll be in his bunk.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    You mean certain commenters who also post under alt-names just to stir shit up.

  • ||

    Are you referring to the New Yorker, RC?

  • Paul.||

    And certain commenters larfed at me for calling it the Dem Op media.

    I didn't. I even co-opted the term for my personal narrative.

  • $park¥||

    they intend to be more critical of the president's performance and more aggressive in urging him to pursue a progressive agenda as the clock ticks on his last four years in office.

    Because the real problem is that he's just not pushing progressive policies hard enough. YAY!

  • WTF||

    And I'm sure they will now turn their full attention to the drone strikes murdering and terrorizing Pakistani children, and the Benghazi scandal, and his violations of the Constitution...

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I saw a comedian shortly after the election who made a joke about being glad the election was over so he could start criticizing Obama about drones again.

    Made. A. Fucking. Joke. About. Drone. Death.

    What a fucking scumbag.

  • Belgian||

    This is a real reach. I actually think that's a fairly astute observation on the comedian's part, and you'd have to work really hard to be offended by it.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    It's astute to admit to withholding your criticism of Obama so that you wouldn't hurt his election chances?

  • iggy||

    It depends. If he was being serious from his OWN perspective then it was horrific.

    If he was mocking the fact that other people totally ignore the evil things Obama does to make sure that their guy 'wins,' then that's pretty much what people here have been saying for months.

  • Belgian||

    A comedian is not the same fucking thing as a media outlet. In fact, a comedian making the observation that it was dangerous to criticize Obama prior to the election is actually calling out the media who were protecting Obama. But again, unless you're calling Lawrence O'Donnell or Rachel Maddow a comedian, your criticism of the comedian doesn't have much grounds. If it is an actual comedian, his job is to make people laugh, not bow to the righteous earnestness of your political sensibilities.

  • obloodyhell@yahoo.com||

    }}} unless you're calling Lawrence O'Donnell or Rachel Maddow a comedian

    Well, surely they don't qualify as news people. I'd say Jon Stewart DOES have more reliability. Not much, but a little. He DOES call out the Dems on some occasions.

  • Tonio||

    I didn't see that, but from your description it sounds like the "joke" was a jab against the prez and the media.

    Dark humor, how does it work?

    Also, not everything that comedians say is "ha, ha" funny. Sometimes it's just things that need to be said and nobody else who has a bully pulpit can or will say them.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    In context, it came across as dickish, not darkly humorous. YMMV apparently.

    It didn't come across as a criticism of the media or the president, since most of the rest of his act was about how evil Republicans are.

  • obloodyhell@yahoo.com||

    Yeah, sounds to me like it was just typical libtwit mendacity.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Chiming in to agree with the rest of the comments.

  • ||

    They intend to be more critical. INTENTIONZ are all that matter!

  • General Butt Naked||

    What about the intention to look like a college professor douchebag.

    I'm on campus, unfortunately, all day every day and there are innumerable cunts in sportscoats, turtlenecks, and salt 'n pepper beards that this fartstain would get lost in the crowd.

    Does that look do something in the loins of 20 year old girls, or something? Because it's about the dumbest identity costume there is, outside of whatever clown costume that wannabes are currently wearing.

  • ||

    Hey! I have a salt and pepperbeard now that most of the red has gone white! And it seems to work well on the 24-30 female. I wouldn't be caught dead in a turtleneck and sportscoat. Iron a fucking shirt with some starch, pussies. Even if you're going to skip the tie.

    Although I don't have a dresscode at work, so I usually settle for buttondown shirts and khakis, because I don't work as well in my underwear.

  • Tonio||

    Girls who have daddy issues and seek out "nonthreatening" males of a certain age.

  • Paul.||

    It's the tweedy, literate look of wisdom.

  • obloodyhell@yahoo.com||

    }}} It's the tweedy, literate look of postmodern liberal assholism.

    Bit of a typo there. Fixed it fer ya. Glad to help.

  • Art Vandelay||

    "I can't promise that I'll try. But I'll TRY to try."

  • Aresen||

    I would like to nominate Hendrik Hertzberg for the Walter Duranty Journalistic Ethics Award.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The Farce Estate?
    The Fourth Mistake?
    The Unforced Mistake?

  • RBS||

    The Fourth Mistake is good.

  • Tonio||

    But, the phrase "the fourth estate" was itself a dig on journo's when it was first used. The phrase has acquired a patina of respectability since it's original meaning has been lost.

  • Paul.||

    But, the phrase "the fourth estate" was itself a dig on journo's when it was first used

    Do tell...

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I don't see it. When Lord Macaulay referred to the press as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, he was commenting that the people consider the right of the press to report on Paliamentary proceedings as more valuable than the traditional prerogatives of Parliament.

    http://bit.ly/TycDwQ

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I am trying to imagine a universe in which President Gary Johnson is given a pass by Reason over maintaining or strengthening federal penalties for cocaine...nope, can't do it.

    Oh come on, it's easy. It's Earth-45. The same one where Batman is a vampire and works to thwart the efforts of the Justice Society of Pangaea - which is led by the Black Arrow and her lover, Zatanna.

    Although I guess since Superboy Prime destroyed that universe when he breached Monarch's quantum armor, it could be a bit hard to picture.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    "He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe….. [but] now liberals don't have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing."

    What a bunch of goddamned hypocrites.

    The left-liberals who stand by this war criminal and Wall Street shill have made their choice: better to have the militarism and police state, so long as it means a little more influence over domestic politics, even if that too is compromised by corporate interference, than it is to embrace a radical antiwar agenda that might complicate their domestic aspirations.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/gregory/gregory217.html

  • GroverinCA||

    Great article. Got that sumbitch bookmarked.

  • obloodyhell@yahoo.com||

    Be careful, Rockwell is a bit of a loon when it comes to politics. Not as bad as, say, O'Donnell but awfully close.

    I'd use him as a starting point for an investigation but don't TRUST anything he tells you.

    Some time back, in the midst of the Iraq War, he blathered some comment about "the occupation" and I called him on it. He wrote back about "what else was it", and I noted the polling that showed that the Iraqis, while not happy we were there, acked the necessity of it. He wrote back claiming that ALL the polling was done with military guards standing over them thus getting them to say exactly what was wanted, and thus unable to be trusted AT ALL.

    I didn't bother arguing any more with someone that loonie. The simple fact is, if they didn't want us there to the degree Rockwell believed, then there would have been lots of "Yankee Go Home" protest marches -- when in fact there were next to NONE.

    The degree of suppression being not just suggested by him, but REQUIRED for his views to be vaguely accurate, would damn ALL the military -- officers and enlisted alike -- as unconscionable swine. Sorry, I have a better opinion of our military personnel than that.

  • T||

    I look forward to tough questions:

    Mr. President, why won't the Republicans just agree with you?
    Why is the opposition holding up your glorious plans for the future?
    Are we really worthy of your benficience?
    Is there anything we can do to help you make America more better?
    Is it true that those who pay the minimum taxes allowed under the law are wrecking our economy?
    Is government spending an unalloyed good, or just the best idea ever?
    Is Ambassador Rice uniquely qualified to sit at your right hand dispensing widom and largess to those unfortunate enough to live elsewhere?

    Yeah, I eagerly await the new adversarial media. Lulz ahead.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Now that you've won your second Nobel Peace Prize, is it more difficult for you to get motivated to make this world a utopia?

  • General Butt Naked||

    How do you stay so humble knowing that your healthcare legislation has saved millions of lives?

    What is your greatest weakness: that you work too hard for the downtrodden in our country or that the great amount of compassion you have for them is a burden?

  • Randian||

    When you say 'fair share', does that mean that the rich should pay for a vast majority of government spending or should they pay for all of it?

  • Paul.||

    When are you going to finish Dreams from My Father II, Dreams from My Father goes to Washington?

  • obloodyhell@yahoo.com||

    You're missing:

    Mister President, would you allow ALL of us to give you oral sex?

  • strat||

    Why is the opposition holding up your glorious people's October plan for the future?

    Fixed that for you.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Seriously, even if the president is on your team, the project of journalism is incompatible with the bootlicking of power.

    There's the rub. They're not really journalists.

  • Nick M||

    As barfman has so eloquently put it before, *barf*.

  • Jordan||

    Barfman, why have you forsaken us in our hour of greatest need?

  • CharlieInCO||

    I wish "bootlicking" were the idiom that I think really applies.

  • Randian||

    No, it's an appropriate and degrading enough S ampersand M analogy that I think it fits perfectly.

  • JW||

    Lickspittle works too.

  • ||

    I have a way to "fix" bias in the media. And I think it could be done using the free market...

    Board certified journalists.

    I'm simplifying...
    1. Select a board.
    2. Devise a code of ethics to include prohibition of bias...requirements for source material...presenting both sides equally...
    3. Sell the idea to just one of the large media outlets. Tell them they can still do their commentary shows but for their "news" shows they can be the only players out there advertising that they have "board certified journalists".

    The other networks would have to fall in line to compete.

    Anyone can file complaints for code violations and you can be brought before the board who can pull your certification.

    Many professions regulate themselves like this. AMA, CPA, BAR...

    Standing by to accept your spears.

  • DanD||

    My only "spear" thus far is that there are way more than two sides to most stories.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I wouldn't say they should tell both sides, just that they can't tell only one.

  • sarcasmic||

    Fairness Doctrine! Woo hoo!

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Except we're doing this as a private sector 'stamp of approval', not as a government exercise.

    Like Zagat's instead of like the City Health Inspector.

    Also, it's possible to report on a story without taking ANY side of it, which should be the goal. Though there is certainly a place for reporting the 'sides' of a story, but you're not getting the certified stamp if you stilt it only one way.

  • sarcasmic||

    Judging by the state of the media today, people seem to like their slant being incorporated into the news.

  • ||

    You can still have the slant. You just have to identify it as such.

    I envision:

    "And now, the news, brought to you by board certified journalists." Bla, bla, bla "And now back to Chris Matthews for his opinions about the news."

    You could certify the Network as well to hold their feet to the fire concerning identification of news vs spin.

  • sarcasmic||

    "And now back to Chris Matthews for his opinions about the news."

    Funny how when FOX had Beck on, the description on the cable box included the word "opinion", while Olbermann was labeled as "top news stories".

  • strat||

    Much of the US TV listing data delivery is provided by Tribune Media Services, the same group that now includes the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times. 'nuff said.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Well no one would be forced to do anything in this case.

    Also, there's no other alternative (at least for broadcast media) other than slanted news, so this might provide one.

    And if people don't give a crap, it'd go under and stop being used.

    Then again, you're probably right, and people DO want slanted news, which is why no one has bothered to try anything like this before.

  • sarcasmic||

    Then again, you're probably right, and people DO want slanted news

    Confirmation bias.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Nah, I don't buy it in this case.

    It's too obvious and easy to do (and probably quite profitable).

    Saying confirmation bias is like saying confirmation bias is why there are no shit flavored cookies.

    That this hasn't been done means people have no interest in it.

  • $park¥||

    people DO want slanted news

    Correction, people want straight news with slanted reportage. Same thing here at reason.

  • Tonio||

    I don't think it's possible for journalists to be completely free of bias; human beings, and all. I'm happy if they make an effort to show all sides of the story and to get the basic facts at least somewhat right.

    Journalism has long struggled with the neutrality issue.

  • ||

    My only "spear" thus far is that there are way more than two sides to most stories.

    Barely an arrow to the knee.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And a "board" of proglodytes denying any non fascist certification would help in what way?

  • R C Dean||

    Make it multiple competing boards, with certification having absolutely no legal weight or relevance, and I'll say "sure, why not?".

  • ||

    I forgot to mention that I'd be choosing the board.

  • Belgian||

    Many professions regulate themselves like this. AMA, CPA, BAR...

    I thought you were serious up until this point. But no one is stupid enough to believe that doctors, lawyers and tax accountants "regulate themselves" in a world where the government forcibly protects them from competition.

  • Numeromancer||

    Real journalists don't need this sort of censorship. Who do you think they are, Citizens United?

  • Paul.||

    As long as the government (Obama Administration) oversees this board certification, I'm all for it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Is there a subset of hipsterdom for people who want everybody to think they were just magically transported from some fabulous Limey University?

  • ||

    That horrible beard almost makes me feel better for trimming mine much too severely. How can Jesus allow such terrible facial hair to exist?

  • Killazontherun||

    Even the beard gets trimmed in paradise.

  • Hyperion||

    the project of journalism is incompatible with the bootlicking of power

    Bootlicking of power is what progressives do best and love the most, it is what they are, why would we expect them to stop? No sane person will go along with their delusional and destructive ideas willingly, they need an all powerful government to enforce their will on everyone else.

  • LifeStrategies||

    And all powerful government is what every dictator throughout the ages has strived for. It's the antithesis of freedom which America originally stood for...

  • Belgian||

    The time has come to knuckle under. To get down on all fours and really lick boot.

  • Ranter||

    Why should we believe them that they'll suddenly find their journalistic integrity NOW?

    In other news, it's easy to imagine the patronizing, dimwitted conversation that this guy would have with you.

    Even his bike layout irritates me.

  • KPres||

    "Why should we believe them that they'll suddenly find their journalistic integrity NOW?"

    Journalistic what? These people are activists. Any criticism you see of Obama is strategic.

  • KPres||

    "I am trying to imagine a universe in which President Gary Johnson is given a pass by Reason over maintaining or strengthening federal penalties for cocaine...nope, can't do it."

    Which is part of the reason why you can't imagine a universe where Gary Johnson is president. Face it, this is a fucking democracy. Lies and manipulation are the general currency.

  • Bee Tagger||

    "Liberals in the media are going to be tougher on Obama and more respectful at the same time," Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker's chief political commentator and a former speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, told POLITICO

    If he just changes "respectful" to "respectable", then I could get behind this.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    he vanquished the foe

    Die in a fire, you hamster-fucker.

  • Killazontherun||

    Funny, though vanquished, the foe still gets blamed for everything.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Well duh. I mean, at one point he hadn't been vanquished yet.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    They will have a new foe stride onto the field - I bet the House GOP will do for the next two years. EVERYTHING will be their fault!

  • Tonio||

    That's why you never completely vanquish the foe, you need an excuse when things go wrong. "The agents of Goldstein have been at work; we are not at war with eurasia but with eastasia."

  • freeAgent||

    "He was the champion of our side, he vanquished the foe….. [but] now liberals don't have to worry about hurting his chances for re-election, so they can be tougher in urging him to do what he should be doing."

    I cannot believe how cynical and manipulative many "journalists" are.

  • R C Dean||

    This little twatwaffle misunderstands the most elementary fact of electoral politics:

    You have the most leverage over the bastards when they are running for re-election. Once they are elected, they need you a lot less. If they are lame ducks, they need you very little indeed.

  • Robert||

    Reminds me what a friend told me about the proceedings of a meeting of his labor union after a gov't election. Their leader said, "We got in the man we wanted. Now we have to organize to fight him."

  • Bradley Strider||

    You have the most leverage over the bastards when they are running for re-election. Once they are elected, they need you a lot less.

    YES! You can't "hold Obama's feet to the fire" (as various progressive outlets have been musing about doing) if there's no goddamn fire.

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