Politicians and media – and by “media”, I mean the “traditional” media, the “objective/detached” media that most of us grew up assuming “the media” were – have a symbiotic relationship, at best. Politicans need exposure; the media needs material. The media’s
mission is to get Democrats elected putative mission is to be a private check and balance on government – all government.
But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that “the media” have changed drastically, and rarely moreso than in the past decade. From the rise of conservative talk radio and the Drudge Report through the explosion of alternative media that they both helped spawn (including this blog and the related talk show), the media’s world has changed as completely as that of any buggy-whip manufacturer circa 1900.
Of course, any symbiotic relationship has its limits. A shark will tolerate the remora fish that picks bits of crud out of its gills; it’d probably draw the line at a barracuda try to fill the gig.
With that in mind, I read with interest this piece in the Minnesoros “Independent”; Chris Steller is peeved about being 86ed from one of Senator Coleman’s press conferences:
U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman’s campaign staff ejected a Minnesota Independent reporter (that would be me) from a press conference at campaign headquarters this afternoon. I made it as far as the inside of a small press conference room at a drab office park in St. Paul where I was just about to settle into the chair that seemed least conveniently located to the exit when a staffer asked who I was with. When I said the Minnesota Independent, he said I’d have to leave. On the one hand, openness to “journalism” on the part of our politicians is a good thing.
On the other hand, when you lie down with the devil, one should not feign the vapors when people wonder “what’s that sulphur smell?”
Steller? He feighs the vapors:
To my protest that MnIndy is a news outlet like others represented there, the staffer replied, “Right, and it’s funded by George Soros,” and he escorted me out. It’s the fourth time local independent media have been denied access to the senator’s media availability.
Except that the Minnesoros “Independent” is in no way “independent media”. Leave aside the (accurate, but for our purposes irrelevant) Soros connection; when departing staffers emerge from the Kool-Aid hangover long enough to point out that the “news outlet” that employed them really was a shrill partisan shill – a paid employee of the opposition, in fact – is Coleman and his staff obliged to treat them with the sort of deference and respect that they traditionally pay the Strib, WCCO or MPR?
Bonus question for the Mindy staff (or those that remain): how do you think I, a talk show host working for a media organization that is as partisan as yours, but at least honest about it, would get treated at a Keith Ellison press conference?
(Hey, at least right-wing politicians return your calls. As I showed last year, DFLers apparently consider themselves above that basic courtesy).
Lefties; why should Norm Coleman give access to a media outlet who is not only in the bag for the opposition, but utterly disingenuous about it?