How The Media Got Its Groove Back

In his washingtonpost.com chat, Dan Froomkin fields an interesting question about how, thanks to Katrina, the press suddenly got a spine after being dogged for their lackluster efforts in challenging the Bush administration on other fronts.

Question: … President [Bush] seems to have gotten an easy ride from the press throughout his Presidency. Why such an easy ride and why is the press finally waking up?

Dan Froomkin: … I think the post-Katrina awakening is … in part because so many people have been able to see, first-hand, things which don’t jibe with what the president is saying. It’s a much more visceral experience to watch the horror in New Orleans and hear Bush defend the response than it is, say, to know that he is misrepresenting a fact about Social Security. That’s why the continued carnage in Iraq has been emboldening reporters, too.

The other part is that you are hearing (rank and file) Republicans as well as Democrats roundly criticizing the federal response. Reporters are very afraid of sounding “partisan” and in an effort to appear unbiased sometimes bend over backwards to make every White House story sound like one with two sides equally based in reality.

> Don’t celebrate too quickly, says Salon’s Eric Boehlert.