'Newsweek' Editor Jon Meacham Likens Journalists To Cartoon Morons

December 4th, 2006 4:43 PM

Jon Meacham, editor of "Newsweek," compared journalists to MTV’s teen morons Beavis and Butt-Head for the demands they make on public officials, and portrayed himself as understanding of negative public sentiments of the media:

"One of the things people don’t like about journalists, reasonably, is that we’re kind of like Beavis and Butt-Head. You know, we demand people change, and then when they change, we kick ‘em in the shins and say ‘well, you didn’t change quick enough.'"

Meacham's comments came in the 6:00 hour of Monday’s "Imus in the Morning." Yet, if one were to read the latest issue of "Newsweek," it is apparent Meacham’s words are not followed by action. An article by Evan Thomas, criticized the White House for not changing course quick enough and being hostile to change. It rekindled the story of President Bush’s alcoholism,  and his decision to quit drinking twenty years ago and asserted that this was the last "midcourse correction" of the current president:

"Persuading Bush to listen—and to change course, even at the margins—will be very difficult. One of the myths that the Bush camp has tried to perpetuate over the years is that the president follows the model, learned as a student at Harvard Business School, of a chief executive who delegates, listens to advice and only then decides. Bush is the "decider," as he calls himself, but there is little evidence that he listens to advice that he doesn't want to hear. It may be that the last really serious call for a midcourse correction heeded by George W. Bush was the hangover he experienced at Colorado's Broadmoor Hotel one morning in the summer of 1986, when he decided to quit drinking—a decision that put him on the path to the presidency. That was indeed a momentous example of evaluating options and choosing to change, but it happened two decades ago."

Thomas’ premise that Bush won’t change was debunked by CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante on Monday’s "Early Show" who claimed the change in Iraq policy will be announced:

"Now today, the president meets with one of Iraq's most powerful Shiite leaders. He's reaching out as the Iraq Study Group is expected to recommend that he do. But, I'm told that the president will wait for another several weeks, 'til the end of the year, before announcing what he's decided about how to change course."

Considering the fact that the president has signaled he will change the strategy in Iraq, it seems Mr. Thomas’ piece is more of a complaint that the change hasn’t come fast enough, the kind of journalism denounced by Jon Meacham. As editor of "Newsweek," Meacham determines what goes in the magazine and what does not. If he were truly opposed to this "Beavis and Butt-Head" style of reporting, why did he run Thomas’ article as he did? More importantly, why did Meacham put it on the cover?