Ed Gillespie is a really bad media critic

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Almost as bad as Jonah Goldberg! (I kid. Sorta.)

But that didn't stop National Review from running the former RNC chief's Ground Hog Day critique about how the news media are too liberal. (They're nothing if not persistent, right?)

The premise pretty much writes itself, but Gillespie commits a mortal media critic sin; he doesn't show, he tells. Like here:

When I joined the White House in June 2007, I was still naïvely hopeful that we could get an honest hearing from the MSM. It did not take long for the scales to fall from my eyes. The national press corps loathed the president — not personally, I don't think, but politically. Their reporting dripped with disdain, and their stories were frequently riddled with negative adverbs and adjectives. On issues like the Iraq War, the environment, and life, there was often little distinction between our treatment in liberal blogs and our treatment in major daily newspapers.

Well, that's certainly a sweeping generalization. But what did Gillespie offer in his piece to back up the claim? i.e. What were the reporting examples he cited that dripped disdain for Bush? Answer: He didn't. Gillespie took the lazy way out and just assumed everyone who read his piece would agree with his allegation. That's certainly true within the GOP echo chamber. But in the real world, not so much.

Elsewhere, Gillespie isn't so much lazy as he is loopy. Like when he dips into the Rush Limbaugh story that percolated within the Beltway about whether the AM talker was the de facto leader of the GOP. At one point, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, responding to Limbaugh's endless on-air taunts and hate speech, simply suggested reporters ask Republican members of Congress whether they agree or disagree with Limbaugh's comments.

Here's Gillespie's take:

Now, this is the kind of suggestion that operatives from both parties give reporters from time to time, but it's usually whispered at a campaign event, or after half a bottle of wine at one of those painful black-tie press dinners. President Obama's press secretary can say it right out loud from the White House podium. And instead of being insulted, or asking Gibbs whether it's proper for a public official paid with taxpayer dollars to say such a thing, the reporters carry out the hit.

Because apparently the First Amendment no longer applies to the White House? Because White House spokesmen are not allowed to mentioned Limbaugh's name without first being granted permission? Honestly, only a sap would think Gibbs' innocuous request represented a "hit," or would be insulted by the question, or would whine about taxpayer dollars.

But what was our absolute favorite part of Gillespie's very serious dissection of today's "biased" press and how unprofessional journalists insert their opinion into news reporting? No mention of Fox News. It doesn't exist in Gillespie's essay.

He laments that "too many reporters no longer report; they comment" and that "the lines between news and 'news analysis,' and between 'news analysis' and opinion, have been all but washed away." That's Gillespie's big beef with the press, yet he's stone-cold silent about Fox News.

Folks, playing dumb doesn't get much harder than that.

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
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