Thursday, January 7, 2010

Defending Politico

Andrew Sullivan recites Dick Cheney's credits, and then concludes:
How this utter failure gets to pontificate on terror after his disastrous record is beyond me. But then, Mike Allen would have fewer pageviews, wouldn't he?
Look, this is pretty simple.  Dick Cheney is one of the leading figures of one of the two major political parties in a democracy.  Leading Republicans say that they do what he says to do because they're afraid of him.  As such, it is the job of the press to let us know what he has to say; in fact, it would be gross negligence to ignore him.

In other words, Sullivan's problem is primarily with the Republican party (and secondarily with Cheney himself), not with Politico. 

I'll grant that a secondary job of the press is to analyze the statements of major party leaders (and of course they should let us hear what both parties say, not just one).  And it is certainly their job -- another primary job -- to report on the news beyond the statements of party leaders.  But that doesn't mean that they should ignore news, and what Republican leaders have to say about Obama is news.  Cheney is, both by credentials and by everyone's behavior, a leading Republican, probably the single leading Republican on national security issues.  I happen to agree with Andrew that his record is one of fiasco upon fiasco, but that's a discredit to him and to the Republicans for listening to him, not a reason for the press to treat him as a pariah. 

If Republicans start to treat him as an embarrassment, then Politico will presumably start to ignore him, just as everyone pretty much ignores whatever Jimmy Carter has to say.  However, there is no sign at all that Republicans are even the slightest bit interested in repudiating Cheney.  Until they do, we're all stuck with him.

1 comment:

  1. Of course, it's just barely possible that what Carter has to say is more worth listening to in itself than what Cheney utters (and what a lot of other people have to say is worth still more than both of their animadversions), but of course it isn't the media's business to consider such issues of quality.

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