Feature

‘Watchdogs’ tamed by ambition

Even in ethics-challenged Washington, people are grumbling about the obvious conflict of interest faced by journalists with contracts to write books about the Obama administration, said Glenn Greenwald in Salon.com.

Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com

Behold the suck-up brigade, said Glenn Greenwald. More than half a dozen Washington journalists are working on books about the Obama White House, each one dependent on “access to top White House officials” to generate the kind of behind-the-scenes gossip that makes for a lucrative best-seller. All of them are dreaming of the millions made by the authors of the best-seller about the 2008 campaign, Game Change.

So rather than cover the administration aggressively and alienate potential sources, these reporter/authors—including NBC’s Chuck Todd and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter—compete “to curry favor with top government officials.” This explains the steady stream of vigorous defenses of Obama’s policy flip-flops by the likes of Todd and Alter, and glowing puff pieces from their colleagues about top White House aides such as Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Even in ethics-challenged Washington, people are grumbling about the obvious conflict of interest faced by journalists with contracts to write books about the Obama administration. “How can one possibly purport to be a ‘watchdog’ over the very political officials on whom one’s livelihood and hope for riches depend?”

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