Mike Allen Or Rick Sanchez?

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A reader writes:

Let's get down to the bottom of it...if a fatuous quasi journalist like Rick Sanchez on CNN can nail Ensign, than Politico should do enough homework to push back on Cheney.  Is it possible that the so-called "journalists" at Politico could learn a thing or two from Rick Sanchez?

I think this misunderstands how Allen views journalism. His role, he seems to believe, is to become very very close to people with power, to become their friends and confidants, in order to get an advantage over delivering the messages those people want to deliver. And if he can become their main outlet, he gets more status in Washington as someone more connected than anyone else, he garners more pageviews for press releases from often anonymous power-brokers, and thereby generates more money for an organization he helped found.

This is what Washington journalists think is their job; and they value one another by the proximity of their ties to the powerful. In a business sense, they can also brag about their close ties to Cheney as a way to get major corporations to buy ads under the impression that the powerful read the Politico. This is the model. And it's a problem.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with the notion that journalists are really accountable to their readers, that the powerful should be afraid of them rather than their best buddies, and that the goal is to challenge government, not act as its informational tool. Politico is to the US government what Blackwater was for the US military. It acts as an ancillary privatized forum for the powerful to express themselves outside of the box of, say, releasing statements to the press in general.

This is why the MSM was much more interested in getting an interview with Palin rather than forcing her to hold a real press conference. The MSM works for itself and its advertizers in a bid to become closer and closer to power. Few places prove this more potently than Politico.

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