You know that phrase “Washington insiders” that’s trotted out by lazy pundits or politicians when they want to characterize someone, either an elected official or a commentator, as out-of-touch with the average person? I always thought that sounded phony, like the “career politician” slur.
[TANGENT: You know what that person actually is in the best of times? A professional. Joe Biden’s a career politician. Helen Thomas is a Washington insider.
Obviously, in both cases, I want that person to be ethical and fair, and not looking for ways to enrich his or her pocketbook or personal profile at the expense of the greater good. No, here’s what I want out of a D.C. reporter: Someone who knows the ins and outs of the city, so he or she can find truth and call bullshit when it’s warranted. And here’s what I want out of an elected official: Someone who is well-versed in procedural matters and studied in the art of compromise so he or she can get things done for the betterment of the constituents. Those people are usually folks who’ve spent time in the trenches so let’s throw a little respect their way from time to time. I mean, you’d never hear “Oh she’s a career doctor…” or “He’s spent years as a public schools insider…”]
After reading Johanna Neuman‘s post about the Cramer/Stewart interview at the LA Times’ Top of the Ticket blog, (via Romenesko) I’m starting to understand why people would think spending too much time in D.C. is a bad thing:
“In fact, the Emmy-winning Stewart was so caustic — he suggesting [sic] Cramer should remove the designation “financial expert” from his pitch — it kind of makes you wonder how much he’s lost in the economic meltdown.”
Someone finally asks how the country’s most influential financial reporters contributed to our economic crisis, and your first impulse is to ask what’s in it for him? I know there’s been a lot of criticism about the lack of real journalism on this issue, but how about aiming your rifle at the rabid dogs instead of the Animal Control worker?
Neuman’s obviously a smart person and spent years covering D.C. politics. So perhaps she has – to her detriment – been blinded by those who spend too much time motivated by ego or financial gain so that’s the only prism through which she views the actions of others.