Matthew Continetti writes:
Last week John Nolte of Breitbart observed that the mainstream media had failed to break any of the controversial news occupying Washington. This week Paul Farhi of the Washington Post, without intending to, explained why.
There are four stories harming President Obama’s approval rating, and the heirs of Tarbell and Woodward and Novak uncovered none of them. The long-simmering tale of what happened before, during, and after the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, was all but ignored by media other than Fox until Gregory Hicks’ blockbuster testimony before the House Oversight Committee last month. It was the IRS, in a carefully planned “apology,” that revealed to the world it had targeted the applications of conservative and Tea Party groups for special scrutiny. The Justice Department, not the press, announced it had been scouring AP phone records to plug national security leaks. And Edward Snowden, the contractor who exposed secret intelligence, went to the Guardian, a left-wing British rag, with his scoop. (Only when Snowden’s anti-anti-terror accomplice Laura Poitras suggested, in the words of Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald, “It would be good to have the Washington Post invested in the leak, so it wasn’t just us—to tie in official Washington in the leak” did the three filtradors approach former Post reporter Barton Gellman.)
Four stories, four separate races in which the establishment press, the major print dailies and the heavily watched network broadcasts, are sweating to catch up. “We are getting big stories wrong, over and over again,” said Scott Pelley, the anchor of the CBS evening news, in a speech at Quinnipiac University in May. Did he, did anybody, read the June 13 Washington Post, I wonder; did Pelley’s eye scan the innocuous headline—“Media, administration deal with conflicts”—and the well-kneaded copy below? If so he would have learned much about life in the capital city.