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Now my question to our gentle readers here is this: In this outburst in defense of the Fourth Estate, are we finally witnessing a split between liberals and progressives?
Some folks might argue, “What’s the difference?” Some of the more cynical or reactive (read: progressive) But that would probably be the wrong take on this. Just as much as Republicans have fissures underneath the surface, I am quite certain the Democrats have the same. In that light, there really are two differing philosophies at work.
I’ve often commented on how liberalism and conservativism in the United States are really just two ends of the same political philosophy — that of classical liberalism. The neo-conservative or progressive flavors are something much more different; the former smacking of empire, the latter smacking of socialism.
What Chip Reid and Helen Thomas did yesterday was highly unprecedented. What’s more though, they are entirely in concert with the principles behind free speech, open government, and everything — at least in rhetoric — that liberals purport to believe.
Contrast this with the narrowly controlled PR machine that has been Obama’s image since the Democratic primary. Prepackaged questions, fake online presence, staged shots, teleprompters… openness and sunshine, this President is not.
Progressives have been keen to continue to polish and shine Obama into something which old Roman emperors would have marvelled. Liberals, that old left arm of classical liberalism, seem to be instinctively revolting against a movement more keen to treat Americans as more attuned to appetites and soundbites rather than citizens uniquely aware that their elected officials should be conserving the public trust. In as much as this is an American maxim, good people no matter what their political persuasion would like to know their unvarnished questions are being answered… not prescreened.
It’s good to see a little rebellion amidst the WH Press Corps from time to time. Though I will probably never agree with or share the same sentimentalities as many of the left-leaning journalists at the top of the food chain, every once in awhile it’s worth noting that reason exists on the other side of the aisle.