Brooks Renames Indispensable ‘Lobbyists: Experts’

Salon critic Glenn Greenwald’s look (2/14/09, ad-viewing required) at the journalistic powerhouse that was a recent New York Times David Brooks-Gail Collins Internet “conversation” yields the Greenwald observation that “Brooks did an excellent job of explicitly demonstrating most everything that is relevant–and destructive–about the mentality of the standard Beltway journalist.” Greenwald quotes Brooks being “really annoyed by… the withdrawal of Tom Daschle” and providing an alternate “word for lobbyists: experts. Some are sleazy and many are quite admirable, but the idea of trying to run Washington without them is absurd.” Greenwald’s response:

To David Brooks, lobbyists are nothing more than “experts” who provide important and helpful insight to legislators as they earnestly try to craft laws in the public interest. Not only are lobbyists a positive influence, but they’re actually indispensable. The fact that these so-called “experts” are paid by the wealthiest corporate factions to ensure that the laws Congress passes are designed to serve their narrow, insular interests–and that this is accomplished by pouring money into the coffers of the very people who write the laws so that they’re writing the laws that serve these interests–never makes it into Brooks’ understanding of this process. Thus, he is baffled that anyone would find lobbyist-domination of our political process to be at all objectionable.

In Brooks’ position Greenwald sees “the full expression of one of the most predominant attributes of the contemporary Beltway journalist”–which spells bad news for any reader tempted to take such creatures seriously: “Because they are integral members of the Washington establishment, rather than watchdogs over it, they are incapable of finding fault with political power and they thus reflexively defend it and want it to remain unchanged.”

Read FAIR’s magazine Extra!: “David Brooks vs. the Real World: Columnist Dreams Up His Own Reality” (9-10/08) by Steve Rendall