The Role Of DC Journalists

I wrote that Laura Bush was "the most decent person in the White House for eight long years." That inspired Mistermix at Balloon Juice to complain about "the journalistic elite who justify their shitty journalism by saying that some monster is actually decent 'in person'." Julian Sanchez searches for a middle ground:

I think there’s a real problem of source capture in D.C. journalism, even bracketing the shady quid-pro-quos involved with high-level access. But I doubt a press corps composed largely of snarling misanthropes would be much better. If you want to really understand a particular beat, and be good at covering it, you ultimately have to spend a lot of time socializing with the people you cover. A good reporter isn’t going to become best buddies with the folks he’s writing about, but some minimum level of amiability is going to be required if you expect to get wind of scuttlebutt or know what people in a particular industry or agency are thinking.