“Few media behaviors are more pitiful than the intense fixation over the ‘Veepstakes,’ a word that is at once nauseatingly vapid and yet incomparably valuable as a symbol of our nation’s pointless, juvenile political media,” Glenn Greenwald writes in Salon.
Greenwald cites a boast made by Time magazine’s Mark Halperin to illustrate the mainstream media’s gleeful obsession with and willingness to be distracted by the vice presidency nomination:
Unless you have been directly involved in one of these, you can’t believe the number of calls and emails that will go from journalists to Romney campaign officials from now until the pick is made public, with pleas such as “My career will be hurt if I don’t break this,” “My career will be made if I break this,” and “I don’t need to break it, but please be available to confirm the story right away for me if someone else breaks it,” and “You owe me.”
Behold our tough, intrepid, adversarial press corps. If there’s an afterlife, I feel sorry for the American Founders: imagine how they must feel looking down on all of this, thinking about all the work they did to enact a First Amendment to protect press freedoms, and wondering why they bothered. And I wonder what these “journalists” did to make them believe that the presidential campaign they cover “owes them”? Actual journalists think that their “careers will be made” if they expose serious wrongdoing on the part of those in power; these people think their careers will be made if they get to run in front of an MSNBC or CNN camera and announce Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential pick 11 seconds before everyone else announces it (what Jay Rosen derides as an “ego scoop”). The latter view about what is career-making is probably more accurate than the former, which explains most everything.