The media's angst over its role in "post-truth America" is expanding as President-elect Trump takes shots at the news business and even U.S. intelligence agencies.
The latest example is a lengthy essay by the former editor of Politico for the Brookings Institution that suggests the control of news by mainstream gatekeepers ended when Matt Drudge and his "Drudge Report" broke the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky sex affair.
Susan B. Glasser, Politico's editor during the 2016 presidential election and who has worked in prominent positions for several influential publications, wrote:
"In 1998, I started work at The Washington Post as the investigative editor on the national desk. Little more than a week after my arrival, on January 17, 1998, at 9:32 on a Saturday night, Matt Drudge's website first leaked word of the blockbuster scandal that was about to engulf President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. I had expected to edit stories about Clinton's aggressive fundraising in the White House, not his dalliance with a former intern. But now it seemed that independent prosecutor Ken Starr's unprecedented probe could even force the president to quit, and I remember well the day we all stood riveted in front of the TVs in the Post's famous fifth-floor newsroom to watch Clinton's less-than-convincing denials of 'sexual relations with that woman.' Over the weeks that followed, the internet drove a Washington news story as it never had before: The Drudge Report had proved beyond a doubt that the old gatekeepers of journalism would no longer serve as the final word when it came to what the world should know."
Brookings promoted the column, published Dec. 2, over the weekend in an announcement about an event with Glasser Tuesday at their Massachusetts Avenue HQ.
She now reports from Israel, writing in her essay:
So what's an editor with a no longer always half-full glass to do?
Four days after the election, I moved to Jerusalem to become a foreign correspondent again for a few years. To a troubled part of the world where the stones thrown are real and not metaphorical. Where an entire region is in the midst of a grand and violent reckoning with the fallout of a failed political order. And where, not coincidentally, the results of the election this year in the world's remaining superpower will matter almost as much as they will back in Washington.
Facts may be dead, but here's one I'll take with me, and it's a truth as rock-solid as those Facebook feeds are not: elections, in America or elsewhere, still have consequences.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com