A Presidency “Defined” (So Soon?)

At The Daily Beast, Eric Alterman critiques last night’s performance by the White House press corps, giving a thumbs-down to the question asked by Ed Henry of CNN (“Why is it that…Andrew Cuomo seems to be…getting more actual action on [the AIG bonuses front]” and why’d you wait “a few days” before going “public” with your AIG bonus “outrage?”). Writes Alterman:

CNN wants emotions, theatrics, the stamping of feet, mano-a-mano anger, and outrage contests. This is a presidency defined by cable news food-fights and Maureen Dowd-style armchair psychoanalysis…

Now that (the latter sentence, at least) seems a tad cynical, not to mention premature. I might agree if it were something more like: “This is a presidency covered by way of cable news food-fights and Maureen Dowd-style armchair psychoanalysis” or “This is a press corps raised on cable news food-fights and Maureen Dowdian commentary.” But please, let’s not cede to cable news and a New York Times columnist the power to “define” a presidency — let alone 60 days in.

Speaking of over-crediting cable news, in the LA Times James Rainey writes encouragingly of the “good news” coverage popping up in various news outlets, including NBC Nightly News’s “Making A Difference” segment, and of the “misguided conviction among some news people that happy endings and serious journalism don’t mix.” Writes Rainey:

Most networks, cable outlets and big newspapers try to cover the entire spectrum [of news], but their hearts really soar for the weighty, heavy stuff…

“Weighty, heavy stuff” is what makes “hearts” at “cable outlets” “really soar?” Really?

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.