Now that Charlsye’s all grown up, what I wouldn’t give to hear her thoughts about tonight’s big health care address. Before we go, though, one serious thought about what’s different between these two faux-outrages. In 1991, as York notes, the political fallout came after the mainstream media jumped on the story. It was the Post, for its own reasons, that set the agenda. In 2009, it was the political push—from places well beyond D.C., and with a fierceness and apparent sincerity far beyond anything on display in the episode two decades ago—that forced the issue, and the media that had to figure out how to respond. This is, of course, one of the most important changes in the modern political world—one many in the media are still trying to make sense of.

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Greg Marx is an adjunct lecturer at The Medill School and a facilitator with The OpEd Project. She served as an editorial board member, columnist, library director, and No. 2 in the features department of the Chicago Sun-Times.