Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson today questioned whether political reporters covering the race for the White House have enough ambition for the job.
“Most of these journalists seem to lack what you might call fire in the belly,” said the former Tennessee senator. “When’s the last time you read an in-depth story about what the presidential hopefuls actually believe, or have accomplished? How often have you seen a reporter place a candidate’s views in the context of the Constitution, the sweep of American history, the intricacies of global geopolitics, economic theory or even basic political philosophy?”
Mr. Thompson said most reporting on the race fits one of three categories:
1) Results of the latest opinion poll.
2) Embarrassing gaffes and nasty remarks.
3) Reaction to one of the above.
“I’m not sure if it’s laziness, lack of ambition, or just apathy,” said Mr. Thompson, “But the American people need to know that the reporters whom they entrust with this solemn responsibility have a burning desire to fulfill the obligations of the Fourth Estate. That means you need to hustle, do your homework, ask tough questions about significant issues, put quotations in context, filter out your own natural bias, and place more value on accuracy than on speed, more on integrity than on your own petty celebrity.”
At the same time, a recipie for greatness, should a reporter decide to follow it. Not that certain people have ever done so, and they are famous.