Watergate may have been American journalism’s finest hour. It was the profession’s zenith in its sacred role of holding the powerful accountable to the American people.
What we have been witnessing of late, however, may be American journalism’s lowest point. Ever.
It is inarguable that this country is diving head-first into a health-care reform law that most folks, including our leaders, don’t understand, and which has already caused much unnecessary turmoil at great expense.
And when the Oct. 1 deadline for the Obamacare website launch rolled around, everyone seemed surprised that it wasn’t even close to being ready.
Why? Where have the national news media been? Why didn’t they ever get on top of this massive shift in American life, and stay on top of explaining it? Why didn’t they do a better job of educating the public? Of watchdogging the government? Of warning both officialdom and the public of the looming website crisis, as well as the fact that millions of Americans would be getting their insurance canceled due to changes in the federal law?
The watchdog was snoozing.
Now, belatedly, some news outlets are covering the mass insurance cancellations – based on information they could have gotten months if not years ago.
In addition, even with the onset of the crises, many in the news media have, instead of focusing on the problems, tried to minimize them.
Liberal columnist Clarence Page, for instance, gaily admits that President Obama “probably” lied when he told us we could keep our existing insurance in any event. Yet, a chortling Page gives the president a pass, adding, “But that’s one of those political lies.”
So that makes it OK?
The Washington Post could only manage a milquetoast statement that the insurance cancellations many Americans are receiving “appear to contradict President Obama’s promise ...” Really? It’s just the appearance of a contradiction?
CNN’s Joe Johns would only say President Obama’s misleading and broken promise “might have been an oversell.”
Even NBC News – which broke the story that administration documents showed as early as 2010 that millions would lose their insurance under Obamacare – seemed embarrassed by the revelation, burying it in a less-than-half-minute segment. It was half a minute more than other networks spent on it, though.
Then, after a grueling, embarrassing day of outrageous and pathetic congressional testimony Wednesday by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, some news outlets seemed to think it was old news by Thursday.
If Woodward and Bernstein had been that irresolute, there never would’ve been a Watergate.
If Obamacare fails America, the lion’s share of the blame must rest with Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the rest of the Democrats who shoved it down our throats.
But a good portion of the blame would no doubt attach to a news media that – perhaps to protect the wizard behind it – never showed much interest in pulling back the curtain.