This BuzzFlash interview with author Eric Boehlert discusses his new book Lapdogs, about the media’s largely deferential treatment of Bush’s scandals. Boehlert refers to Bob Woodward, once a journalist, as “the ultimate symbol” of the media’s transformation “from watchdog to lapdog.” This comparison is telling:
The press has been extraordinarily timid with Bush. If you just look back at the same press corps during the Clinton Administration you see that a titanic shift took place on inauguration day in 2001.
During the Clinton years there was this mindset that we can print anything we want – any half-baked allegation – as long as it’s leaked from either a prosecutor or Republicans on the Hill. And two and three months later, when nothing pans out and it turns out to be complete fantasy, A, we don’t write about it again, or B, we pretend it wasn’t fantasy and we just keep writing about it as if it were a fact. That was the mindset during the Clinton era, and the mindset during the Bush era is the complete opposite. The mindset did a complete 180.
Now you have just as unsettling and damaging a mindset as during the Clinton years. It’s a completely different standard that they have set down for the Bush Administration.