Where’s the Backbone?

Last week, I wrote a piece in the American Prospect about how the recent stories trumpeting Deep Throat/Watergate highlighted the contrast between the muckraking journalism of eras past and today’s sad state of media affairs. Interestingly, I got a number of positive responses from journalists who are equally frustrated by the situation.

Thankfully, I am not the only one who has tried to give voice to this tragedy. Check out Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D) courageous comments in the New York Times today.

Abetting the conservative agenda, Clinton said in some of her sharpest language, is a Washington press corps that has become a pale imitation of the Watergate-era reporters who are being celebrated this month amid the identification of the anonymous Washington Post source, Deep Throat. “The press is missing in action, with all due respect,” she said. “Where are the investigative reporters today? Why aren’t they asking the hard questions? It’s shocking when you see how easily they fold in the media today. They don’t stand their ground. If they’re criticized by the White House, they just fall apart. I mean, c’mon, toughen up, guys, it’s only our Constitution and country at stake. Let’s get some spine.”

The reason I said those comments are courageous is because there are very few politicians in Washington willing to give voice to the public’s frustration with the media. Conservatives have made an art form out of intimidating the media — and its time for progressives to fight back by demanding the press do its job, instead of serving as a propaganda machine.