Jewish World Review July 4, 2013/ 26 Tammuz, 5773
The press and Dr. Faustus
By Victor Davis Hanson
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the old Dr. Faustus story, a young scholar bargains away his soul to the devil for promises of obtaining almost anything he wants.
The American media has done much the same thing with the Obama administration. In return for empowering a fellow liberal, the press gave up its traditional adversarial relationship with the president.
But after five years of basking in a shared progressive agenda, the tab for such ecstasy has come due, and now the media is lamenting that it has lost its soul.
At first, the loss of independence seemed like a minor sacrifice. In 2008, MSNBC's
For worshiper and former
For a press that had exposed Watergate, Iran-Contra and the Monica Lewinsky affair, and had torn apart
Sometimes the media and Obama were one big happy family -- literally. The siblings of the presidents of
When Obama's chief political aide,
Four hundred reporters even formed their own off-the-record shared email chat group, JournoList, to strategize attacks against Obama's political opponents. AttackWatch.com (paid for by Obama for America) read like some sort of secret-police operation, asking readers to report any criticism of Obama, as it compiled "Attack files" in blaring black and red headers.
When President Obama kept open
Obama rightly assumed that when the Benghazi scandal surfaced during the 2012 campaign, the press would largely ignore it. Likewise, he knew that the politicization of the
But then a Faustian thing happened. This year it was also revealed that the Obama administration had monitored the communications of
The Obama administration did not object to AP reporters leaking classified information per se. Indeed, it had leaked the most intimate details of the cyber war against
The crime instead was that AP was freelancing and might publish leaks that were not always flattering. Since long ago the media had made a pact, it was natural that the Obama administration assumed it had a right to monitor what it had bought.
In one version of the tale, Dr. Faustus at least got 24 years of freebies before being hauled off to Hell. Our poor media did not even get five years of adulation before Obama called in their souls.
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
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