Howler doesn't mince words:
In the wake of last week's Chris Matthews' Show (vid & transcript @ Carpetbagger
), the one where the guests make merry over the U.S. Attorney firings, view it as mere Democratic sniping, and show a complete lack of interest in the integrity of the Justice Department, Bob Somerby writes
: (excerpts, emp in original)
For starters, let’s describe a long-standing pattern: The RNC sends out a script, and journalists look for ways to promote it. In this case, the Matthews panel supported, en masse, an RNC framework: Dems are just playing partisan politics in their pursuit of these firings. All the pundits supported this script. But they found different ways to do so.
Here’s the key point of understanding: Depending on the positions they hold, different scribes will find different ways to support an RNC script. At conservative journals, scribes can simply recite the RNC line, no matter how stupid or bogus it is. But if you work for a mainstream news org, you have to be somewhat more clever.
Almost surely, that explains [Time's ME Richard] Stengel’s odd remark on the Matthews Show. To state the obvious, the attorney firings look like an actual scandal, so Stengel couldn’t say what pundits on Fox have constantly said: This whole thing is just a non-story. On the other hand, he wanted to agree with the general line set out by his host, Chris Matthews. Matthews was stressing all the bad faith involved in the Democrats’ unseemly conduct.
... everyone played along last Sunday. Incredibly, all five pundits aped Matthews’ line, saying the Dems were just playing politics. No one offered an obvious thought: Democrats should be probing this conduct. It’s the way our system works.
That's a different point of view than that of other bloggers that were appalled at what happened on Matthews' show. For them, it's a question of "How could these journalists be so clueless?" or superficial or lazy or wrapped up in the beltway conventional wisdom. But Somerby says it's a mistake to think that way. That instead, the guests on Matthews' show are there to peddle the RNC script of the week
. Which makes it a waste of time to analyze their performance in terms of journalism or to expect much from them if they even know they are being criticized.