Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Monday, January 26, 2004

A Modest Theory

Has anybody opined that there might have been a reason Peter Jennings asked Wesley Clark about Bush's AWOL status (okay, he actually didn't, he said "deserter") other than to try to discredit the Democratic candidate and raise people's hackles against Clark supporter Michael Moore again? I think, for a lot of mainstream reporters caught between a rock (the journalistic ethics many of them still remember and believe in) and a hard place (the reality of having to please their corporate bosses in order to keep raking in the big bucks), this is the only way they can raise the question at all in the national mass media debate, by bringing it up and, on the surface, immediately discrediting it. 'Cause see, people will remember that the question was raised more than they'll remember the snap dismissal. And maybe, just maybe, Jennings wanted his fellow reporters to start asking some questions they weren't asking four years ago. I know this theory assumes that not every mainstream reporter is a bought-and-paid-for enemy of democratic discourse, and that some are actually trying to do the best job they can under adverse circumstances; so be it, I'll cop to that assumption.