So what explains the media’s abstemiousness when facing such glaring examples of dissembling, intimidation, and abuse of power? Three things. The first is journalistic enchantment with Barack Obama that began for some in 2004, for many others in 2008, and has never really gone away. When they look at the president and his top advisers, they see a reflection of their own background, education, and sympathies—and sometimes they see their former colleagues and even family members. The media therefore give the administration the presumption of good faith. If scandals did occur on Obama’s watch, it was simply because he wasn’t as engaged as he should have been.
A second reason is rooted in the attitude many journalists have toward Barack Obama’s political opponents. They judge Obama well because they view his critics with contempt, which is why journalists are working so hard to make these scandals about GOP partisanship and overreach. Why else would the New York Times use a headline that reads: “I.R.S. Focus on Conservatives Gives GOP an Issue to Seize On”?
A third explanation is that the vast majority of journalists are highly sympathetic to a large federal government, and they know where these scandals, if pursued vigorously, will lead—to a further deepening distrust of government. A new Fox News poll shows that more than two-thirds of voters feel the government is out of control and threatening their civil liberties. Journalists are aware that these scandals have the potential to deal a devastating blow to their progressive ideology, which is why they will downplay these stories as much as they can.