Karl Rove on the media: “I think it’s less liberal than it is oppositional.”
Most political strategists know this, of course, though it doesn’t stop them from painting the media all shades of blue (or, sometimes, red) when it suits them. This fact of life also explains why one of my favorite blogs, Blog on the Run, is written by a journalist and a Republican who never lets his party affiliation keep him from his duty as an aggressive watchdog. (He and I also worked together back in the day, or the mid-90s.)
But what’s surprising here is that Rove goes on to present a valid criticism: Many journalists (and I’ll exclude Mr. Blog on the Run here) are a tad too aggressive: “Reporters now see their role less as discovering facts and fair-mindedly reporting the truth and more as being put on the earth to afflict the comfortable, to be a constant thorn of those in power, whether they are Republican or Democrat.”
The reason I call this blog Happy Skeptic is that skepticism is much preferable to cynicism. That’s a point that stuck with me when I read Spiral of Cynicism in grad school. I think the distinction they drew is that skeptics often encounter questionable things and decide to check them out, while cynics take the simpler road — you’re wrong, and you’re going down, dude.
Of course, the flip side is that politicians need to respect journalists’ rights to ask questions. Real questions.