By Howard Kurtz, Washington Post
The media say they want bipartisanship — as long as it doesn’t apply to them. Politicians should bridge their differences and come together in the public interest. Put aside petty politics and forge reasonable compromises. But should the pundit class adopt a similar tone? No way!That would amount to a collective hari-kari for a business built on argument and finger-pointing. Who would Hannity accuse of being socialists? How could Olbermann face the public without naming his Worst Persons in the World? Would Dobbs bury the hatchet with illegal immigrants? Could O’Reilly get through a whole show without ridiculing pinheads? How would they play softball on “Hardball”? Who would the Wall Street Journal editorial page blame for undermining capitalism?
No, what’s great about the debate over Obama and bipartisanship is that media outlets can pretend to be high-minded about it while slugging it out. If we had real bipartisanship — if the president and congressional leaders held a joint news conference to slap backs and hail an economic package that would pass unanimously — television ratings would plummet. Blogs would go unlinked. Magazines would sit on newsstands, unsold. Newspaper circulation would drop. (Oh wait, that already happened.)
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