Press and the blame game

There’s always plenty of blame to go around come Election Day. This year is no different. Republicans blame Democrats for this economic mess we’re in. Democrats blame Republicans for putting us there. Obama blames Bush for just about everything. White House senior adviser David Axelrod and press secretary Robert Gibbs blame the “unnamed” donors for the money deficit Democrats face.
 
Democrats are even blaming pollsters for their ill fortunes. Early on Sunday morning, Dem operatives issued an e-mail titled “Public Polling is Crap this Cycle” in response to a survey showing Nevada Democratic Rep. Dina Titus down by nearly double digits to her GOP opponent.
 
While blame is often a convenient crutch to cover otherwise incompetent performances, blaming the media for mistakes and attempts to tilt the balance of power should really be out of bounds for politicians. Leave that to guys like me.
 
But this year, it seems everything is fair game, even threatening reporters if they get too close or probe too much. New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino threatened to “take you out, buddy” when he jabbed a finger in the chest of one Empire State reporter for asking about one of Paladino’s daughters.

Yes, sometimes reporters cross the line of what is in bounds and what should be left alone. And at a time when the print media is struggling to stay alive, it’s easy to see how journalists push the envelope to grab a story.
 
Regardless of the aggressiveness of the media — or even the public’s disdain of the press — elected officials and candidates alike should rise above the fray and set the example in action they say they want to be in mere words.
 
What happened to the unflappable statesman who used the media as his/her megaphone? Today it almost seems vogue to take a swing, verbal or otherwise, at the press.
 
Sarah Palin calls them “the lame-stream media.” Yes, she may get a bad rap every now and again. But her popularity and star status is largely the result of an insatiable press corps. Are they trying to catch her and other Tea Party activists in a gaffe? You bet. All the more reason to be on one’s best behavior with the Fourth Estate.


Armstrong Williams is on Sirius/XM Power 169, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arightside, and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside.