The lapdog 'press' | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The lapdog 'press'

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Bigger news -- Sotomayor, health care, etc. -- has deservedly received more attention. But the vigorous Talking Points Memo has been providing some excellent analysis this week of some embarrassing stuff on on the media unearthed by The State, the South Carolina newspaper that continues to mine Gov. Mark Sanford's hike on the Argentinean trail.

South Carolina's public records law allows access to gubernatorial e-mail. If only that were so in Arkansas.

Some great stuff has been found. After Sanford disappeared, but before all the facts were known, reporters from all over were sending e-mail to Sanford's staff attempting to curry favor. Right-wingers led the way -- Fox, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, the Red State blog. They dissed competitors' tough stories about Sanford's disappearance and, in the worst case, volunteered to mount a defense for the governor. Right-wingers weren't the only offenders. ABC's Jake Tapper sucked up by calling NBC's reporting "slimy." They perhaps still dreamed of special access to future presidential candidate Sanford.

All this led David Kurtz of Talking Points Memo to a broader topic:

I'm often asked why the right doesn't have a muscular online news presence that mirrors the reporting-intensive, fact-heavy websites that have emerged on the left. The explanation is complicated, but one part of the answer is very simple: Most of the right-wing "news" sites have no interest in being journalists. That's not what they're about and that's not what they see as their primary function, which is advocacy.

It's true. The left-wing blogosphere (Dem politicians, too, sometimes)  will eat its own. It will put facts ahead of ideology. Among Republicans -- politicians and bloggers --  message discipline is highly prized. Those who depart from script can expect punishment, loss of access, etc. If the emperor is buck nekkid, you must never say so. There are exceptions, but far rarer on the right side of the web than the left.

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