Several years ago at a news conference, a reporter got confused and thought I’d advocated term limits for the media, you know, in addition to politicians. I told him we weren’t advocating such limits for the press, but nonetheless he ought not mention the idea above a whisper for fear it would take off.
Today, there are term limits on 19 state legislatures and 38 governors, but, of course, there are no limits for the media and nobody seriously advocating them. Yet, there are self-limiters in the media. Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot is leaving Washington of his own accord, and sounding a lot like a citizen legislator.
Gigot says about our capitol city, “It is horribly seductive . . . there is no more parochial place in America. Most of the city’s intrigues, which can seem so compelling, count for little in the end. . . . I started out trying to cover Washington the way a foreign correspondent would, trying to explain the bizarre native rituals to the rest of America. But the longer one stays here, the harder that is to do. Covering the city can lead to tunnel vision that focuses on political tactics and trivia over substance. I’ve sometimes found myself falling into that trap, a sign that some distance is in order.”
Gigot concludes, “The imperative of the political class is to accumulate even more power. Politicians don’t arrive here corrupt, or at least most don’t, but the attraction of power is corrupting to all but the hardiest souls.”
Paul Gigot, lessons learned, is headed to New York to become editor of the Journal ‘s editorial page. Good luck to him.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.