Today’s Best of the Web has what is quite possibly the best explanation of what has gone wrong with the mainstream media over the past forty years.
It’s not just that the media are biased against conservatives and Republicans, though they certainly are. It is that they see every war as another Vietnam and every supposed scandal as another Watergate–at least when Republicans are in the White House, which they usually are.
The obsession with Vietnam and Watergate is central to the alienation between the press and the people. After all, these were triumphs for the crusading press but tragedies for America. And the press’s quest for more such triumphs–futile, so far, after more than 30 years–is what is behind the scandals at both Newsweek and CBS.
The problem in all three cases is that news organizations were so zealous in their pursuit of the next quagmire or scandal that they forgot their first obligation, which is to tell the truth. Until those in the mainstream media are willing to acknowledge that it is this crusading impulse that has led them astray, we are unlikely to see the end of such journalistic scandals.