White House Reporters Bored At Work, Wish President Would Imperil Democracy More Or Something

White House Reporters Bored At Work, Wish President Would Imperil Democracy More Or Something

If you are a fan of the Rizzoli and Isles novels, perhaps you read one from the middle of the series titled Vanish in which (SPOILER ALERT) a hard-working, underpaid reporter betrays a frightened, sex-trafficked girl to a bloodthirsty assassin in exchange for more money than he’ll ever see in his career:

You know any rich reporters? Once you get past the superstars, how many names do you remember? The truth is, the public doesn’t give a shit about the truth. Oh, maybe there’d be a flutter of interest for a few weeks. A few front-page stories above the fold…In a few months, the public would forget about it. And I’d go back to writing my column, paying my mortgage, and driving the same beat-up Toyota…As soon as I saw the videotape Olena left me, I knew it was worth a lot more than a Pulitzer.

We thought of this fictional reporter while reading this execrable piece of Beltway navel-gazing from Politico entitled “The Rise and Fall of the Star White House Reporter.” Because at least all that guy was doing was helping to cover up a few murders.

But during the age of Biden, a perch inside the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room has become something altogether different. It’s become a bore…Some of those covering the most powerful office on the planet say that the storylines, while important, and substantive, can lack flair or be hard to get viewer attention.

If covering the most powerful office in the world bores you, may we suggest a fulfilling career in data entry?

There is a sense that the main saga of American politics is taking place outside the confines of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and that the journalists covering it — Donald Trump and the future of democracy — may reap the career rewards.

Yes? Probably? Whether or not American democracy can survive the current moment, with Donald Trump leading a party of frothing, hyperactive raccoons in attacking it, does seem as if it's an important story. Sorry that spending every day asking administration officials what they are doing with regard to the war in Ukraine or the ongoing coronavirus pandemic or inflation or wage growth or immigration or the likely overturning of Roe v. Wade or the opioid crisis or the student debt crisis or the rash of anti-gay and anti-transgender legislation the GOP is passing in the states or, hell, the future of democracy that you have as much of a stake in as the general public doesn't blow your skirt up as much. Is the administration at least keeping the snack machines fully stocked?

“Jen [Psaki] is very good at her job, which is unfortunate,” one reporter who has covered the past two administrations from the room said. “And the work is a lot less rewarding, because you’re no longer saving democracy from Sean Spicer and his Men’s Warehouse suit. Jawing with Jen just makes you look like an asshole.”

See, for reporters to get book deals and television anchor spots, they must constantly be saving democracy. Otherwise, what’s the point?

“It’s not such a bad thing that there’s a new sense of sobriety in the White House briefing room,” said Eric Schultz, a former deputy press secretary under Obama. “The histrionics probably got out of control. It is serious business… It’s probably good for democracy for this to be less personality based and more about the work.”

Eric Schultz gets it. The reporters who provided anonymous quotes for this story? Apparently not.

“It’s a boring and difficult job. It’s tough to be a White House correspondent if you want to break news, they’re so airtight,” another reporter who covered both the Trump and Biden White Houses from the briefing room. “There’s no Maggie [Haberman]. Who’s the Maggie of the Biden administration? It doesn’t exist.”

The last administration was full of snakes who spent four years anonymously leaking the most insane stories they could think up, using reporters to stab each other in the back as they competed for the favor of the tabloid junkie President Brainworms, who wanted every day to be a spectacle. Then those snakes would sit back and giggle at the frenzy. And reporters miss being used for that?

So maybe your careers don’t advance as fast with a dull bowl of cottage cheese occupying the Oval Office. On the other hand, there is the potential for the improved emotional and civic health of the country, which seems to us like a fair trade. And yr Wonkette depends on insane spectacle ourselves. It’s much tougher to write dick jokes about subcommittee hearings.

“It’s not like there’s a lack of trying — these reporters are there every day to get anything out of the Biden White House,” another cable news executive said. “But it’s boring there, it’s not what it was.”

No, it sounds as if it is a lot like it was for most every administration prior to the last one. People still had careers then, right?

If nothing else, this piece is an excellent illustration of the enormous yawning contradiction between the public interest and the desire of D.C. journalists and associated cranks (network executives) to make their careers while serving it. That it comes out the weekend of the annual wankfest that is the White House Correspondents Dinner only increases the pathos.

[Tiger Beat on the Potomac]

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