This month we've heard a lot of talk about journalists who got tough with President Bush. And it's true that he has been on the receiving end of some fiercely negative media coverage in the wake of the hurricane. But the mainstream U.S. press is ill-suited to challenging the legitimacy of the Bush administration.
The country's largest media institutions operate on a basis of enormous respect for presidential power. Major news organizations defer to that power even while venting criticisms. Overall, mass media outlets restrain the momentum of denunciations lest they appear to create instability for the Republic.
Initially, when the lethal character of Bush's "leadership" became clear in New Orleans, the journalistic focus on federal accountability was quick to bypass the president. For several days, the national political story seemed to mostly revolve around the flak-catching FEMA director, Michael Brown, a cipher who obviously was going to be tossed overboard by the administration...
Read the full column.