Some journalists do tough and dangerous reporting – usually for very modest salaries. Others have the easiest and most high-profile jobs, and make millions.
Often, the former are the better journalists, and the success of the latter is based largely on on superficial attributes – physical attractiveness, a pleasant voice – and/or on personal connections and sheer luck.
And the easiest, most high-profile, and best-paying reporting jobs of all tend to be those inside the Beltway.
Think of it. If you’re a Wall Street reporter, you need a pretty solid grounding in finance. If you’re a foreign correspondent, you have to know something about the history, culture, and politics of the country where you’re posted. (You may even have to speak the language.) A competent military correspondent should be knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects, from military history to details about weapons, warplanes, and aircraft carriers.
The same holds true for other beats, from shipping to religion to sports: invariably, there’s something you have to know.
But Washington reporters? You might expect that they’d have to have a nuts-and-bolts familiarity with current legislative proposals, foreign policy, and such, plus a decent education in history and government. If you’ve seen Jim Acosta in action, you know the very idea is a joke. These people – most of whom, like Acosta, studied communications in college and have spent their entire lives in media – focus almost invariably on the politics of politics (who “won the week,” that sort of nonsense).
When Trump was president, they saw it as their job to undercut him at every turn. Now, with Biden in office, it’s their job to pretend he’s Bismarck instead of a hunk of bismuth.
They’re a frankly ridiculous crowd – spoiled, silly, fundamentally unserious, and with no particular regard for the truth. So a July 6 Vice report by Cameron Joseph came as no surprise. Published on the six-month anniversary of the event that these clowns have taken to calling an “insurrection,” the piece is an unintentionally hilarious account of just how traumatizing the memory of that event has been for the journalists who were present.
Without embarrassment, reporters tell Joseph about their “emotional scars” and the therapy they’ve sought “to deal with the trauma.” PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins says she’s “not sleeping like I used to.” (Hey, Ms. Desjardins, here’s a handy cure for insomnia: watch PBS NewsHour.) Bloomberg News reporter Erik Wasson portrays himself as an intrepid hero: “‘It was traumatizing,’ he said. But he kept reporting….‘If I went down, I was going to go down fighting.’” Wasson ended up, he claims, with PTSD.
Joseph refers solemnly to the “journalists who survived that day” at the Capitol. Survived? All of them survived. None of them was even hurt. The only person killed was a Trump supporter, Ashli Babbitt, the specifics of whose death at the hands of an unnamed police officer have still not been made public. Nor, as far as I know, have any of these fourth-estate martyrs done the slightest digging into the questions surrounding her killing.
Joseph makes a point of letting us know that these self-pitying reporters aren’t snowflakes but hard-bitten veterans. “Wasson said he’d had guns drawn on him by Cambodian soldiers when he was working overseas. Desjardins has covered a war, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Ginger Gibson, a politics editor at NBC News, has covered natural disasters and murder scenes. But this was different.”
Sounds convincing, maybe, until you pause and ponder a bit. Come to think of it, I’ve had guns pulled on me, too. No PTSD. Also, is covering earthquakes, hurricanes, and natural disasters really all that dangerous or traumatizing? Did Gibson get to the murder scenes while the bodies were still there? As for Desjardin’s war coverage, a little googling suggests that she did indeed record stories for PBS radio about the Iraq War – but was in Washington, D.C., at the time.
Reading about these Beltway reporters’ trauma brought a couple of names to mind. Former CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan, for one, who while covering the resignation of President Mubarak of Egypt was gang-raped in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Now, this is a woman who would have every reason to suffer from intense lifelong trauma. But she hasn’t. She’s a supremely plucky pro – which is part of why she’s such a terrific journalist.
Then there’s Andy Ngo, who was savagely beaten by Portland mobs three years ago, and again in May of this year, while reporting on the riots in that city – and doing so with an honesty and thoroughness that no mainstream-media journalist has come close to matching.
(It’s interesting to note that, even as Joseph strives to gin up sympathy for these purportedly distressed Beltway scribes, the same magazine has mocked Ngo – a gay Vietnamese-American – as an “alt-right whisperer” and unjustly accused him of “peddling conspiracy theories about Muslims.”)
Logan and Ngo are pretty well known. But there are innumerable other journalists who are obscure (at least in the U.S.) but equally brave – people who have reported on wars or drug cartels or tyrannical governments. Just to name a few (all of whom I know through their inspiring talks at the annual Oslo Freedom Forum): Russia’s Lyudmila Savchuk and Yevgenia Albats, Iran’s Masih Alinejad, Uganda’s Jerry Sesanga, and Angola’s Rafael Marques de Morais. And let’s never forget Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was investigating Al Qaeda in Pakistan when, almost twenty years ago now, he was kidnapped and beheaded.
These and many other gutsy people have put their lives on the line over and over to uncover and tell the truth. Meanwhile the pusillanimous MSM hacks in Washington see it as their job to sell the Democratic Party narrative. While their employers have spent the last year and more routinely whitewashing Antifa and BLM violence – which caused real trauma, financial loss, physical suffering, and worse for innocent Americans in several major cities – these D.C. twits grotesquely exaggerate the scale, seriousness, and larger import of the events of January 6.
As Bresnahan tells Joseph: “We cannot fail to call it what it was: It was an insurrection. They tried to destroy democracy.” Really? A few hundred unarmed Trump supporters were making a serious attempt at revolution? It’s ludicrous, but it’s the new MSM line, and these stooges have no problem playing along. (Any conscientious D.C. journalist would suffer trauma as a result of having to tell lies every day of the past five or six years.)
Bresnahan says he now regrets the way he’d covered the Tea Party. “That was white rage and we should have covered it as white rage, and we didn’t, we covered it as conservative backlash. They were booing John Lewis, for god’s sake.” The white-rage thing is, of course, another Democratic lie; and the bit about John Lewis is a disgusting smear that’s been definitively debunked – but that the Democrats and the MSM have continued to repeat.
Gratifyingly, the Vice piece was greeted on Twitter with the derision it deserved. “Pathetic” was perhaps the word most frequently used by commenters, several of whom jeered at the journos for their “entitlement and privilege.” Bingo. The more these preening MSM buffoons try to sell us on their own supposed importance and integrity, the easier it is to see them for the cheap political hirelings that they are. .