One thing about an election year that is becoming as predictable as politicians’ hand-shaking and baby-kissing is the press’s orgy of self-criticism. The latest in a long line of journalists being critical of their own profession is James Fallows in his new book called Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy. Fallows’s is a serious book, though I think it profoundly wrong-headed. But it has been interesting to observe the eagerness, even alacrity, with which his journalistic colleagues have rushed to accept his thesis and to accuse themselves, sometimes in the strongest terms, of “cynicism.” Why is it that media people just love sitting through boring discussion programs or going to endless seminars about how naughty and “cynical” they are? I think it is because their “cynicism” is remarkably naïve.

For years, conservatives have accused the...


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