In July, 2007, The Washington Post‘s Richard Cohen wrote a column condemning the prosecution of Lewis “Scooter” Libby on the ground that political officials should not “be called to account for practicing the dark art of politics”; instead, he explained: “as with sex or real estate, it is often best to keep the lights off.” At the time, I hailed Cohen’s column as “a true tour de force in explaining the function of our Beltway media stars,” writing:
That really is the central belief of our Beltway press, captured so brilliantly by Cohen in this perfect nutshell. When it comes to the behavior of our highest and most powerful government officials, our Beltway media preaches, “it is often best to keep the lights off.” If that isn’t the perfect motto for our bold, intrepid, hard-nosed political press, then nothing is.
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