Trump vs. Washpo: Woodward and Bernstein are so yesterday

Re Trump dumping the Washington Post (now Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’s hobby) media credentials, Brent Bozell advises the paper (at Townhall) to get over itself:

The Post did not publish a huffy editorial last summer when the Clinton campaign banned right-leaning reporter David Martosko of the Britain’s Daily Mail from its print pool. And the Post has not expressed any editorial-page outrage as the Obama administration has routinely insulted and avoided Fox News and said it is “not a news organization.”

No editorial was published when reporters from three McCain-endorsing papers — the Washington Times, the New York Post and The Dallas Morning News — were kicked off Obama’s campaign plane days before the 2008 election to make room for reporters from the black-oriented magazines Ebony, Essence Magazine and Jet. The Washington Post only published a brief news item headlined “Reporter Off Obama Plane: Times Editor Squawks.” More.

Reality check: But people, let’s look beyond the Washpo’s lack of balance. That’s not the burden of this story! They were never balanced but they were at one time necessary.

If you are old enough, think yourself back to Woodward and Bernstein in 1972. If you are not old enough, imagine:

“Five Held in Plot to Bug Democratic Offices Here,” said the headline at the bottom of page one in the Washington Post on Sunday, June 18, 1972. The story reported that a team of burglars had been arrested inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office complex in Washington.
So began the chain of events that would convulse Washington for two years, lead to the first resignation of a U.S. president and change American politics forever.

The story intrigued two young reporters on The Post’s staff, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward who were called in to work on the story. As Woodward’s notes show, he learned from police sources that the men came from Miami, wore surgical gloves and carried thousands of dollars in cash. It was, said one source, “a professional type operation.”

Young people don’t realize how much the internet changed eveything: In those days, for example, just to find out Richard Nixon’s middle name, you might have to visit a library in a snowstorm (and find it closed due to bad weather). Today, one can just type a question into the navbar.

Woodward and Bernstein labored to discover and publicize in print media critical information that today might happen to be captured on somebody’s cell and put up at YouTube. The change has not been kind to outfits like the Washington Post. And the Post’s editorial board does’t appear to understand its significance.

Here it is: If a serious presidential candidate had refused to grant the Post interviews back in 1972, the impact would be huge because most people had no other way of discovering information about him. Today, I can find dozens of tell-alls from Donald Trump’s ex-wives within seconds, whether I care in the least or have time to read them. In an information society, information is an avalanche but time is a narrow window.

So does it matter if Trump won’t give the Post privileged access at his campaign events? No. There are all kinds of Donald Trump rallies at YouTube, to say nothing of people tweeting and live blogging.

Worries about censorship are misplaced. Censorship occurs when government or any powerful figure prevents media from publishing a story. The Post can still publish whatever it likes about Trump.

Refusing to be interviewed is not censorship when vast streams of news are available anyway. The media are not police and Trump is not obligated to help them with their enquiries.

The critical question, it seems to me, is—irrespective of whether he wins—in the long run, will his campaign be harmed by ignoring the Post? If not, that’s another milestone in a historic shift.

See also: > Trump campaign bitch slaps Washington Post


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