The media's standard: Transparency for political celebrities, not those who actually wield power 

It was a bit embarrassing last Friday when the New York Times, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, and others put all hands on deck to scour over thousands of Sarah Palin's emails. I'm a big fan of transparency, and I'm glad these emails came out, but I wish that media organs would dedicate their resources to scrutinizing the actions of those who actually wield power, as opposed to a celebrity ex-politician mostly famous for fights with the media in which both sides behave childishly.

Matt Welch and the magazine he runs (Reason) have been consistent in calling BS on Obama when much of the media gives him a free pass. Welch is about the furthest thing from a partisan, but when a President increases his power through misleading the public, a good journalist blows the whistle. Welch has a good piece at CNN right now headlined "Scrutinize the president, not Palin." I'll get back to that later, but it's interesting to see the shifting standards of transparency.

Instapundit picks up this blog comment on the Washington Post's standards:

BLOG COMMENT OF THE DAY: “The Washington Post thinks it’s ‘harassment’ to request Michael Mann’s files from the University of Virginia (their Memorial Day editorial) but it’s cool with requesting and obtaining and asking for citizen-journalists to go through 24,000 of the State of Alaska’s emails involving Sarah Palin.”

Our own David Freddoso noted a New York Times columnist's antipathy towards transparency:

Joe Nocera writes in today's New York Times:

It’s official: Elizabeth Warren will return to the torture chamber known as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on July 14. Earlier this week, Darrell Issa, the California Republican who is chairman of the committee, tweeted the news. Apparently, Democrats aren’t the only ones who use Twitter to harass women.

In other words, Congress' constitutional imperative to oversee an unaccountable executive branch official, appointed through subterfuge so as to avoid Senate confirmation, amounts to "harassment."

Wrapping this all up, here's the meat of Welch's piece on the Palin obsession:

When is this journalistic scrutiny going to be applied to politicians who wield actual power?

For instance, one might nominate the president of the United States for such attention. On Saturday, June 4, in his weekly radio address, Barack Obama did what he has consistently done since taking the oath of office: fudged reality to make his policies sound better.

In a premature victory lap over his controversial bailout of Detroit automakers, the president made the highly dubious assertion that not taking over Chrysler and General Motors would have "put a million people out of work," a claim resting on the notion that "bankruptcy" equals "liquidation," which it does not.

He said, both presumptively and inaccurately, that "we're making sure America can out-build, out-innovate, and out-compete the rest of the world." And he gave the distinct -- and distinctly false -- impression that Chrysler has repaid every dime of what it owes American taxpayers, mostly by saying "Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency -- and it repaid that money six years ahead of schedule."

Glenn Kessler, who writes "The Fact Checker" blog for the Washington Post website, described Obama's address as "one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have seen in a short presidential speech. Virtually every claim by the president regarding the auto industry needs an asterisk."

A president misleading the public on one of his most crucial policies at a time when Americans are increasingly anxious about the economy sounds kind of newsworthy, no? Well, don't tell the editors of the New York Times -- they were too busy nailing down this important story:"Palin Says She Didn't Err on Paul Revere."

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Timothy P. Carney

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