Journalism as Sycophancy
Jack Shafer eviscerates a New York Times puff profile of Obama National Security Council chief Denis McDonough:
Although the piece reads like a beat sweetener, designed to convert excessive flattery into access, I doubt that McDonough’s heart will be won by such empty wooing as “Mr. McDonough looks more like a Town & Country cover model than a Washington foreign policy wonk.”
My friends in the Gunowners of America criticize what they rightly call “access-based lobbyists,” well-heeled types less interested in representing their membership (gunowners, for example) in Washington than in preserving their own friendly relations with policy-makers. Instead of sticking up for their members’ interests, access-based lobbyists relay Washington’s desires to their clients. Access-based journalists do much the same thing. But Shafer is right: even as sycophancy, this vapid NYT piece doesn’t really cut it.