Everyone wants to be a star

Some journalists and pols with a hint of self-awareness have begun to deplore the obnoxious White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News joins Tom Brokaw and Sarah Palin (!) in arguing that “[a]n inordinate amount of time was spent congratulating themselves for having raised more than $100,000 for journalism students. The return on investment is laughable. The weekend costs media organizations millions of dollars.” But then she gives the game away — the veil of media objectivity and responsibility. She ends: “More than anything else, what this weekend shows is that we in the news media have forgotten our mission to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.”

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama, with servicemembers behind her, announcing the winner of the Best Picture Academy Award (Mario Anzuoni / Reuters)

Gong! If there were a journalism trap door, Carlson should have fallen through it. No, no, no. She laughably confuses journalism — the obligation to report and enlighten — with share-the-wealth liberalism. Oh, how easily she does, and how revealing is it.

Indeed, this is the root of journalists’ bias and the key to understanding their inability to self-correct. They think their job is to help the poor and the downtrodden, rather than to tell the truth. It is the same intellectual malady that infects liberals when talking about the judiciary. Judges are supposed to show “compassion” and concern for the “powerless,” they say. Wrong! The judicial oath requires that they treat the rich and poor alike.

For journalists, the combination of narcissism and career confusion blinds them to their biases and justifies in their own minds putting a thumb on the scale. They are doing it for the little people, you see. The failure to cover stories, until doing so becomes unavoidable and embarrassing (Gosnell, Fast and Furious, etc.), is shrugged off because those stories just aren’t “news” — news being what everyone else in the liberal bubble is interested in and thinks important.

Mainstream news is best when the ideological advantage is not yet clear. But as soon as the political stakes become clear (e.g. the Boston bombers were motivated by jihad, the “sequester” better be tragic or conservatives will “win”), the media rush left, tipping the boat so much that it capsizes.

It is no surprise that journalists like to rub shoulders with celebrities: Outsize egos convinced of their role in saving humanity naturally attract one another. The irony is that the there-to-serve-humanity journalists are as out of touch with middle America as are the Hollywood stars. Unfortunately, we now have pols who want to be stars (Michelle Obama appears at the Oscars), journalists who want to make policy and celebrities who want to be taken seriously. Maybe everyone should just do their assigned job.

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