(continued from the previous post)
Being popular might be good for business at a time when newspapers are losing readers and TV networks are losing viewers. And the owners of today's media, who are business tycoons, not journalists, would like us to be good representatives of the corporate brands. But that is not our job. We are supposed to be surrogates for the public -- the eyes and ears of citizens who don't have the access we have. We are to hold public officials to account, and if that makes them angry at us -- well, that just goes with our job, and we have to take it. If pointed questions make public officials squirm -- well, that just goes with their job, and they're supposed to take it. That’s the price that comes with the privilege of serving the people.
...[W]e don't deserve to enjoy the cool part of the job if we're not willing to do the heavy lifting that sometimes comes with it. Public officials are measured by how well they perform in times of crisis. If they can't take the heat, they should be in another line of work. It should be the same way with journalists. We cannot take a dive just because the country is at war. Indeed, our responsibility grows in times like these. It is not unpatriotic to expect the best from our leaders. Likewise, the public should expect no less than the best from us.
Edwards' comments are spot-on; read the whole thing. A critical and skeptical press is indeed critical to the small-d democratic process. Unfortunately, much of the so-called liberal media -- whether do to laziness, ineptitude, managerial pressure or fear of still more accusations of bias -- seem perfectly willing to act as stenographers to this administration. As a result, this Administration simply asserts its scripted lines -- from think-tank pipe dreams to outright lies -- ad nauseum until the public comes to believe it's all true. Indeed, it's breathtakingly obvious how little esteem accountability holds for this Administration; Bush would much rather be the judge of what we need to know. Unfortunately, a compliant if not downright incompetent press seems to be essential for certain political leaders to disguise an agenda that often is far from what it's claimed to be, or unlikely to work even when it is.
(via a Daily Kos comment thread)