McClellan repeatedly embraces the rhetoric of Bush's liberal critics and even charges: “If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.Undoubtedly. The question really is where the reputation could have come from. Watergate? Policitical reporters all want to be seen as paragons of integrity and courage, but that would require integrity and courage, which are not apparently selected for in that population.
“The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”
So, this is the review of Scott McClellan's memoir. He's a poor misled insider, an ingénue tricked into repeating the lies of others, forced to stonewall on their behalf. You have to pity the guy. And buy his book!
This quote points out the importance of opposition. I've certainly told customers that we're going to do what's cheapest, easiest, and most in line with our strategy unless they push to get what would work better for them. John Perkins recently told me an almost certainly apocryphal story about a Japanese executive thanking the Rainforest Action Network's Randy Hayes for forcing him to stop doing some terrible thing to the environment.
And back to the original quote, this is the meaning of the "If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn't hesitate to choose the latter." Without a government, somebody would start asserting his or her will over the people nearby -- that is, government would quickly arise -- but newspapers inform and coordinate us so that we can protect our interests.
Except that they haven't been. So, we have the Bush administration.