Remember the scene from A League of Their Own where Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, proclaims, “There’s no crying in baseball!”
This is basically all I have wanted to scream at my tender, fragile, weak journalism colleagues who couldn’t handle the mildest of pushback from Rand Paul during an interview with Savannah Guthrie.
It’s one thing for the Democrats to cry about one of their allies in the media getting some pushback from a Republican candidate. That’s what they’re going to do. I saw tweets and comments whining about Rand Paul trying to get a word in edgewise over Guthrie’s monologue all the way from Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Planned Parenthood. That’s fine. That’s their job.
But the media also piled on.
Why do Rand's folks keep letting him act like this on live TV? https://t.co/zKBAlFx0wq
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) April 8, 2015
Politicians mansplaining to female journos how to conduct an interview is just, well, it's just very bad. http://t.co/btd0RHf8xa
— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) April 8, 2015
Rand Paul’s problem with female interviewers just cropped up again. http://t.co/Fxf8ovTS4y pic.twitter.com/rnzxo4rF1a
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) April 8, 2015
Are they crying? Are they crying? Are they crying? There’s no crying! There’s no crying in journalism!
First off, I get that the media are hypersensitive to how they’re treated. In my experience there is no group in the country more defensive and hostile to constructive criticism than reporters. The rest of America, however, doesn’t feel that journalists need special protections from the people they interview. Most Americans don’t like the media and have absolutely no problem seeing a politician push back if warranted. And the media don’t make big productions out of President Obama’s notable snippiness on the very, very, very, very, very few times reporters have pushed him.
But all this “war on women” rhetoric? Really? Don’t we get enough of that from the more overt Democratic establishment?
Savannah Guthrie is a big girl. She can handle mild pushback. Her husband is Democratic political strategist Michael Feldman, for crying out loud. I’m sure she understands how politics works. And it’s ridiculously demeaning to suggest otherwise.
Besides, this wasn’t even a big deal at all. I’m with Matt Bai:
Doesn't seem to me Rand Paul is attacking anyone here. No whining in journalism. https://t.co/5NN2XJdBgG via @YahooPolitics
— Matt Bai (@mattbai) April 9, 2015
Exactly. There’s no whining in journalism. There sure as heck ain’t this level of crying in journalism. Put on your big boy pants and stop whining and crying!
By the way, if I were king of the world or commissioner of baseball or some other authority figure, I would force everyone who covers politics to read Matt Bai’s All The Truth Is Out. I’m not even saying I agreed with all of it, but it’s a much needed slap across the face of journalists, showing us how unbelievably awful political reporting has become. One of the themes of the book, which is really about the presidential campaign of former Sen. Gary Hart, is about how a variety of factors have conspired to make it impossible to have any real interactions between journalists and politicians.
I mean, here we have a real interaction. Savannah Guthrie, the woman who recently asked President Obama the tough question “baseball or football?” is sharing her personal opinion about Rand Paul’s views. He doesn’t really agree with her views so he tries to respond. She is not interested in his response. He pushes to respond. If journalists can’t handle this, what the hell can they handle?
DC Journos RTing this quote like crazy. Excellent. Never forget YOU'RE the story, insular Beltway media! https://t.co/rYfzXzGJ7d
— Just Karl (@justkarl) April 8, 2015
@allahpundit can we trust a man that's so prickly with the media, asks the media?
— John Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) April 9, 2015
Sigh. Again. Journalists. You’re the reason why politicians have to script everything and pretend they don’t believe things they do. Because you are incapable of dealing with the slightest variation in style, rhetoric, substance, without losing your minds. Get a hold of yourselves. The world does not revolve around you.
Don’t write things with headlines such as “Savannah Guthrie fight casts shadow on Rand Paul’s debut.” As David Burge said of that piece, “I defy you to write a better satire of a hysterically butthurt ‘reporter.’” He added the point all journalists should know by now: “Media interviewers shouldn’t let candidates ramble on through inane political talking points. And vice versa.”
The media have more than enough power as it is. The idea that people can’t respond to them outside the narrow parameters they set is just ridiculous.