It’s One Thing to Behave Badly in DC But Why Televise It to the Rest of the Country?

British journalist Henry Fairlie 35 years ago on how Washington journalism was changing:

“The people in the media dictate the terms. The people in the media make the killing. Even more than the three A’s—attorneys, accountants, and associations—that feed off the federal government, rapacious members of the media feed off every political activity. Abusing, if not manipulating, the protections of the First Amendment, prattling about the ‘public’s right to know,’ they use this city to enhance their reputations and push their incomes, first to six, and then even to seven figures.

In his 1983 Washingtonian article titled “How Journalists Get Rich: And Why That Money Is So Corrupting,” Fairlie looked at how the lure of appearing on television and making money by giving speeches was changing print journalism.

If only he could have seen the television coverage of Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner with Washington journalists in black tie sitting in a hotel ballroom and laughing at off-color jokes about the people they’re covering. I think he’d advise, “It’s okay once a year to dress up in black tie and drink lots of wine and make fools of yourselves but don’t put it on national television.”

Comments

  1. BARNARD COLLIER says:

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  2. Richard Mattersdorff says:

    Yep.

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