NYT Correspondent: A Watergate Scandal Would Never Be Uncovered by Journalists Today

In recent years, as Ken Auletta discussed not too long ago on PBS NewsHour alongside David Carr, The Guardian has broken three massive, Woodward & Bernstein-like stories. But over in D.C., at least according to New York Times Magazine chief national correspondent Mark Leibovich, it’s a much sadder story.

Liebovich spoke on Wednesday to students at the University of Montana as part of the President’s Lectures Series. Per a report in the Montana Kaimin by Andrew Visscher, he says it all has to do with the rise of D.C. self-congratulation:

The media provides the fuel necessary for this new order of self-seeking politicians, Leibovich said. He claims a journalistic takedown like Watergate could never happen in modern times, where journalists are often more focused on Facebook statuses and Twitter followers.

He said most modern consumers have no interest in reading a 5,000-word feature. A new strategy among newspapers is to blur the lines between hard news and opinion columns on the front page, he said. Most readers want more of a feature-sounding voice to big news, he said.

Leibovich claimed that by giving the consumers what they want, the media often gives incredible amounts of airtime to anyone who is standing out.

The NYT vet has a new book out called This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral – Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! – in America’s Gilded Capital. His Wednesday remarks definitely sound like a clarion call for the Jeff Bezos-era Washington Post.

Jacket cover courtesy: Blue Rider Press