McCleland v. The Press Corps

I am sure that former presidential press secretary Scott McCleland expected an uproar with the publication of his book. I wonder if he expected to have no ally. That’s what I find far more interesting than the revelations of the book. Most interesting of all is the reaction of the Washington press corps. They apparently looked up to him while he was at the White House podium. Now, they question his motives. From what I’ve heard and read the content of the book hasn’t been the topic of discussion, rather the question on the mind of several different kinds of reporters from several different kinds of TV channels has been, if he toed the line for seven years, why is he coming out now? All seem incredulous, all seem to not quite believe McCleland, all indicate their skepticism in a number of ways, some disparage him openly. Transpose the situation: If someone had been in a difficult marriage for seven years, and put on a good front until one day he or she filed for divorce and then the beans would be spilled with great gusto, people may wonder why this or why that but basically they would understand a shift that only seems sudden to outsiders. While an issue may be elevated when it involves the White House, people are people, and high or low, certain human traits apply. If one is to give Mr. McCleland the benefit of the doubt, and why shouldn’t we, then whether through this or some other scenario, there can be more than one explanation for his unburdening himself.
The men and women of the Washington press corps are savvy, clever, hard working, intelligent, driven, energetic, knowledgeable among other laudable qualities, but their job does come with occupational hazards. In this case, as it seems to have been at the beginning of the Iraq war, it is not being able to draw a hard enough line between sincerity and spin, falsehood and fact, even understanding and naivete. There is much talk about ethics and the role of loyalty, so much in fact it makes a listener recall Mr. Shakespeare’s “…the lady doth protest too much.” Regardless of whether this applies or not, it does seem that being hard nosed doesn’t always serve the public interest.