MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2012
Perhaps not all that well: How well do journalists know how to read?
To ponder that question, just click here. You will be taken to Isaac Chotiner, at the New Republic’s Plank blog.
Chotiner says that he is upset by Bill Clinton’s “solipsism.”
Chotiner has read a piece by Ryan Lizza—a piece “which quotes several people close to Clinton” discussing the motives for Clinton’s actions. Based on Chotiner’s account, the key people have gone unnamed.
Chotiner assumes that these unnamed people are correct in their understandings of Clinton's thinking and behavior. He also assumes that Lizza is quoting these people fairly—that we are thereby getting an unvarnished, accurate look inside Bill Clinton’s head.
That isn’t a smart way to read such a piece. And so, we return to our opening question:
How well do journalists know how to read? Based on this particular post, we’d have to say this:
Not real well.
A key historical note: Within the "mainstream press corps," Bill Clinton got defined as The World's Biggest Liar in early 1992. Al Gore inherited Clinton's crown in March 1999.
The liberal world was sleeping soundly in the woods at this time. Except for liberals like Frank Rich, who was pimping these narratives hard.
Also Lawrence O'Donnell! Good lord, how he hated that pair!
Especially in the case of Clinton, some journalists still operate within this unfortunate framework. All their skills give way in the face of this script, the only script they've known.