If Lizza had written a hatchet job, if Obama had retaliated…? by mattsteinglass
July 22, 2008, 9:53 am
Filed under: President

Megan says it’s wrong for Jonathan Zasloff to say that Jeff Goldberg, Rachel Sklar and Joe Gandelman are wildly overreacting to the possibility that Obama retaliated for Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker profile by not giving him a seat on the plane touring the Mideast.

It’s no defense that the Bush administration does it–when the Bush administration does it, they are wrong.  So is the Obama campaign, and frankly, I’d expect Zasloff to know that “the Bush administration did it” is not exactly the bar we want to set for our politicians.

To quote Tom Stoppard, “Information is light”.  Politicians like to make policy in the dark; it’s the job of journalists to force them into the sunshine where we can watch the bastards.

I think the main points here are that most reporters who applied for a seat on the plane were turned down and Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker piece was viewed as a positive one by most of the New Yorker’s readership. I think the journalists first bear the responsibility of making a plausible case that retaliation did occur; we can discuss the finer points later. We knew the Bush Administration was engaging in such retaliation because we heard President Bush calling a frozen-out reporter an “asshole”, and similar dispositive evidence.

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