There is now no journalism as we knew it. It died during the campaign. And so we have no mainstream media audit of politics other than the vestigial shrill warnings about the last three months of the dangerous Bush administration. From the New York Times, NPR, PBS, or Newsweek, we will hear little whether Obama is choosing a good or bad team, or said silly things or contradicts what he promised. They simply have lost all credibility and now the republic is left largely with bloggers, talk radio, and a few newspapers as mostly partisan auditors. This puts the mainstream media in a terrible bind. If Gitmo is not closed immediately, are the victimized detainees there suddenly redefined as terrible killers who can’t be let out? If adhered to, does the Petraeus-Bush withdrawal plan to leave Iraq by 2011, suddenly become sober and judicious? If not tampered with, do FISA and the Patriotic Act morph into reasonable measures? Does the economy suddenly improve on January 21, and Afghanistan become stable? Will anyone believe a Katie Couric, Chris Matthews, the front page of the New York Times, or listen to Andrea Mitchell when they speak of Obama? The media has bet that there was no efficacy to Guantánamo, the Patriot Act and similar provisions, and Iraq. But the fact is in the same period we were not attacked. If there were a connection between the two (and many of us think that there was), then shutting down Gitmo, repealing the Patriot Act, and getting quickly out of Iraq could be done within the first year easily and without risk. But will it happen, and if so, what would be the reaction following another 9/11-like attack?
This is not my concern, but rather what advisors to Obama are currently mulling out. Again, traditional journalism as we knew it —the big dailies, the weekly news magazines, the networks, public radio and TV—no longer exists. Death by suicide. RIP—around March, 2008.