Occasionally you still see them, those now torn and weather-worn bumper stickers from two years ago that were President Bush’s favorites: “Annoy the Media: Re-elect Bush.” Well, it turned out that there were other ways to annoy “the media,” whose generally liberal and activist sympathies have not been proof against annoyance with President Clinton either.

Even in 1992, public suspicion of the media was based on a more general sense of alienation from those who serve up the news. This alienation has been both cause and consequence of the rapid growth of information exchange by computer and radio phone-in shows. As Christopher Wood, New York Bureau Chief of The Economist, wrote in The Wall Street Journal last month, apropos of the press’s reluctance to cover stories related to the Whitewater affair: “A media elite centered on Washington and New York talks to itself while the rest of...


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