Will the Press Recognize the Existential Threat and Fight Back, or Buckle Under? (David Atkins) from Washington Monthly
"The press is facing an existential threat. With Republicans increasingly unashamed to tell grandiose lies and respond to any press criticism with derogatory insults and whines about media bias as well as blackmail threats to cancel appearances if the questions are too tough, the press must decide how to respond on two fronts. First, it must decide how to present an objective face while acknowledging that both sides do not, in fact, behave equally badly. Second, it must determine whether it will continue to ask the tough questions that need answers regardless of the threats made by the GOP, or whether it will meekly submit to the demands for kid-glove treatment."
Atkins is completely spot-on here. Since the 1960s, right wingers have been carefully constructing an expanding truth-free zone where reporters, college professors, think tanks, and more recently scientists, regulators, all lawmakers are completely discredited in the eyes of 40+ percent of the electorate. Next target: debate moderators and the Washington press corps in general who have the temerity to ask tough, annoying questions. Sarah Palin and her handlers in '08 showed the GOP that it MAY be possible to run and win without EVER having to answer tough questions. The CNBC debatergate is the latest chapter. The goal: get moderators and their network bosses to self-censor themselves ahead of time and to allow candidates to simply say whatever pops into their heads. Oh, but wait! On the latter point, that's already what we're seeing this cycle! -- Nuggetsman