When I travel the country giving speeches, I’m often asked, “Why is the Washington press corps so biased towards big government?”
Well, the answer is simpler than you think.
Reporters – like all other creatures on Earth – are self-interested. And soon after they arrive on Capitol Hill, they realize that they can attain riches and glory by prostituting themselves before the idols of big government.
In fact, there are just three steps that any Washington reporter needs to take to reach his or her goal. And it creates an endless feedback loop that supports bigger and bigger government.
1. The Revolving Door
The revolving door is really just the racket by which Washington reporters get perks, access, and better jobs.
To see the revolving door in action, look no further than Emily Pierce. She just received a big promotion this week. Emily spent six years as a reporter for Congressional Quarterly, and then joined the staff of Roll Call, where she wrote the much-followed column “Road Map.”
Now, she’s leaving her position as senior staff writer for a job with Obama. More specifically, Emily is going to work for Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder, and the Twittersphere has been abuzz over her new job. Brian Fallon of the DOJ recently tweeted, “Can’t wait to welcome @emilyprollcall to @TheJusticeDept Office of Public Affairs later this month. She is a true pro.”
But do you think Emily Pierce is being rewarded for her tough coverage of the Justice Department and its troubles with Capitol Hill?
Nope. Pierce is most likely being rewarded for participating in the liberal media protection racket.
And three years from now, when the Obama administration says goodbye to Washington, D.C., she’ll head back to the media or take a lucrative job with a law firm or K Street influence peddler. Her bank accounts will likely be fuller in the years ahead, and the revolving door will have come around full circle.
2. The All-Important “Access”
The second step is access. If you’re in the media and you protect the powerful elite, they’ll give you this much-coveted “access,” which is code for invitations to all the right parties, all the right power dinners, and all the right outings at the golf or yacht clubs.
You may even get a tip for a story at one of these affairs because most business in D.C. isn’t done in the offices by day. Instead, the horse trading and profit conspiracies take place at night in velvet-padded bars and private clubs.
It’s here that the term “lobbyist” was coined, as people would hang around in lobbies hoping to talk with a member of the elite.
3. Growing Together
The third and final issue at work is the symbiotic relationship between the press and big government.
You see, both parties depend on each other for survival. For reporters to climb the Washington ladder, government agencies must always be growing. And for government agencies to continue growing, the press needs to report on their financial shortcomings.
Take Hurricane Katrina, for example.
All of the stories following Katrina had a common theme: “The tragic events wouldn’t have been so bad if the federal government had the resources to take care of everybody.”
To the reporters and government officials involved, the solution was to simply grow the size and scope of FEMA.
And why not? That way, FEMA officials could get new titles and raises. After all, a bigger agency has to manage a bigger budget. Suddenly, they’re much more important.
On top of that, a bigger agency requires more reporters – perhaps even a full-time bureau – to keep up with the flurry of activity resulting from the increased budget.
Finally, K Street now has a new honeypot for grants and contracts, and that’s never a bad thing in a lobbyist’s eyes.
In fact, the only potential loser in this scenario would be the taxpayers… except that they don’t pay for government anymore. Instead, D.C. will just borrow another trillion bucks from the Chinese or ask the Fed to print some more bills.
That way, everybody wins!
At least until the Ponzi scheme implodes.
This commentary originally appeared at CapitolHillDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission.