Monday, February 27, 2006

Confabulating Once Again about Cheney

So Cheney is going to retire in a year, after the midterm elections, reports Insight magazine, quoting "Senior GOP sources". Which is nicely anonymous and means absolutely nothing. It could be senior GOP sources from previous administrations, who are not in tune with this administrations policies and engaging in some wishful thinking that they hope becomes prognostic.

In any case, I'll believe it when I see it. Because there's been a spate of such reporting in recent months. A great deal of it from Thomas DeFrank, Washington Bureau Chief of the New York Daily News, who has recently taken to being a regular-ish guest on Hardball, where such views and political wisdom is very welcome, indeed! So far, not a whit of what I have read has come true.

RCP commented on the phenomenon some months ago here. And I commented on it previously here.

In related news, verging on self-parody, Katharine Seelye of the NYTimes reports on the tense atmosphere that reigns during televised White House Press Briefings. And ends up suggesting that reporters reacted in the ridiculous, overblown manner that they did last week to the story of the Cheney hunting accident because they were feeling their own pain.
Renana Brooks, a clinical psychologist practicing in Washington who said she had counseled several White House correspondents, said the last few years had given rise to "White House reporter syndrome," in which competitive high achievers feel restricted and controlled and become emotionally isolated from others who are not steeped in the same experience.

She said the syndrome was evident in the Cheney case, which she described as an inconsequential event that produced an outsize feeding frenzy. She said some reporters used the occasion to compensate for not having pressed harder before the Iraq war.

"It's like any post-traumatic stress," she said, "like when someone dies and you think you could have saved them."


The fact that the article points out that Renana Brooks has counseled several White House reporters, seems to answer the tacit question: how it is that she became the "expert" on this matter. One wonders if she is Katharine Seelye's therapist, or only that of her friends.

Full disclosure. I used to be quite friendly with Renana Brooks while we were both in graduate school, though I haven't seen her now in over a decade. And while I obviously regard Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a serious syndrome, to suggest that the recent bad behavior of the majority liberal press corps results from it - because if only they had asked harder questions about it, they could have prevented the Iraq War - strikes me as a very silly non-sequitor. Moreover, it is now out of date, since evidence based on more recent documentation from Iraq is now slowly accumulating that Saddam indeed possessed WMD, that were moved to Syria (or Lebanon). We've reported on some of that here and here is another such report.

There's a much easier explanation. The reporters don't like Cheney, because Cheney has never demonstrated any particular deference to them or their ilk. And they feel entitled to that official nod of respect since they are the self appointed "gatekeepers" of information. Moreover, they don't like his policies, since they disagree with them - and feel disenfranchised since the party that represented their views has now been twice out of office.

All of these feelings are quite normal in a democracy when the party you dislike is in office.

Leave it to the Democrats to only take this "phenomenon" seriously enough to turn it into a syndrome when it happens to them.

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