Sunday, October 12, 2008

Politico Writers: Journalists Or Sycophants?

Glenn Greenwald reports:
Tim Griffin has long been one of Karl Rove’s closest “protégés” and has been at the epicenter of many of the most significant episodes of Republican sleaze over the last decade — in particular, he has been a vital tool in the naked politicization of our justice system. Lately, Griffin’s relationship with Politico and its McCain campaign reporter, Jonathan Martin, has grown in numerous ways, and the benefits for both are becoming increasingly apparent, in the standard tawdry ways that typify how our press corps functions.


Earlier this month, Martin and Politico’s Mike Allen were scheduled to appear at the Clinton School in Little Rock the night following the Vice Presidential debate, and Griffin generously twice promoted their appearance on his blog (“two of the best in the business” — “Politico’s top journalists”), noting that ”Martin and Allen are both known to be fans of Little Rock and especially the steaks at Doe’s.” Following the event, Griffin hosted Allen and Martin for a fun-filled boys’ Friday night out in Little Rock, and afterwards described just some of the festivities in detail on his blog.


A few days later, Martin wrote a widely-cited post at Politico vigorously — even angrily — defending John McCain from accusations that the McCain/Palin campaign has been exploiting racist resentment. Sounding like Rush Limbaugh (or Karl Rove), Martin railed against what he called the “outrage industry, ever on the lookout for any sign of racism and quick to pounce even when it’s not there,” and repeatedly lamented on McCain’s behalf that he’s in “in a no-win position.” [Martin was among those who attended the cozy weekend at the McCain compound in Sedona in March and caused Megan McCain so memorably to gush: ”It was really fun to kind of see big journalist figures like Holly Bailey swinging on the tire swing, and Jon Martin helping my dad grill ribs … The guys from the Politico brought [my mom, Cindy] flowers which I still think is the most adorable thing ever, so thank you, I thought it was like so cute that they decided to bring my mom flowers … “].


Martin and Griffin seem to be really good friends, and that’s nice. Spending your nights socializing with the most vicious GOP operatives or your weekends cooking with John McCain and giving flowers to his wife won’t have any impact at all on your ability to cover what they’re doing or [investigating] and skeptically scrutinizing their claims.

The Daily Iowan would fire metro section (regular news) writers for behaving like this. Even I, being able to say what I think because I only write for the opinions section now, could get in trouble for fraternizing with sources in such an egregious way. And, as the arm-chair editors who frequent our main website's comments section are found of pointing out, we're just a college paper. If I hadn't already unsubscribed from Politico's RSS feed out of simple horse-race coverage fatigue, I would do so now.

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