That’s Fox, of course. But really, how much of a difference is there between Romano’s whitewash and that offered by Doocy & Napolitano? Obama’s cocaine use is certainly fair game for the press — among other reasons, because he injected it into the public sphere. But the media can’t offer an intellectually honest assessment of Obama’s transgressions unless they remind the public of Bush’s own torturous non-denials on the same subject.
The rest of the story
It’s not often that Howie Carr, Blue Mass Group, and the Globe and Herald editorial pages find themselves united in passionate agreement. But it happened last week, when the webcast of the state legislature’s Constitutional Convention — where, in case you missed it, a proposed amendment banning gay marriage was advanced to the next stage of the process — proved to be barely functional. The webcast feature was supposed to supplant live televised broadcasts from the House of Representatives, which were terminated late last year, ostensibly for financial reasons. (WGBH had told the House it would cost $300,000 to implement the necessary technical updates and continue broadcasting.) In fact, near-constant transmission problems rendered the ConCon webcast useless.
That was bad enough for citizens eager to know how the debate on the proposed amendment played out. But the press’s failure to cover a closely related story made matters worse. As Dan Kennedy pointed out at his Media Nation blog, both the Globe and Herald ignored the fact that, on the same day as the ConCon, the legislature chose not to vote on a proposed universal-health-care amendment, thereby killing it. The fact that this went unnoted made it easy to think the legislature had been shamed into doing its democratic duty at the ConCon by last month’s Supreme Judicial Court ruling, which ruled that the body has an obligation to vote on all amendments proposed through citizen-ballot initiatives. (The Herald’s post-ConCon editorial — “Lawmakers Get It, Patrick Doesn’t” — epitomized this point of view.) In fact, the death of the health-care amendment suggests that if there were any legislative shame, it was highly selective.
The Boston dailies could have followed the admirable lead of the MetroWest Daily News, which, in a remarkably candid January 4 editorial, apologized to its readers for missing the health-care-amendment story the previous day. (“We spoke too soon yesterday when we congratulated the state Legislature for taking up the anti-gay-marriage amendment without recessing,” the editorial began.) Alas, it was not to be. The Herald ran one letter from a reader miffed that the paper had ignored the lack of a vote on the health-care amendment, and picked up (but only on its Web site) an AP story on Citizens for Limited Taxation’s (CLT) efforts to force a vote on the issue. That was it. Meanwhile, the Globe ran a story of its own on the nascent CLT push and left it at that. Very quiet corrections, if they can be called corrections at all — and by that point, who was paying attention?