You will be assimilated

I read this post by author Barry Eisler, and it reminded me of this.

I have a friend – several friends, actually – who have been invited to the White House. One in particular argues with me ever since I told him I would “never” go to the White House if I were invited. (By any president, not just this one.) He seemed to think I was grandstanding, but would backtrack if it ever actually happened.

“You don’t know me as well as you think you do,” I told him.

“So the president of the United States calls you up, says, ‘Susie, I want you and a handful of other bloggers to meet with me to talk about some current issues, I’d like to hear your thoughts,’ you wouldn’t go,” he said, scornful. “You wouldn’t want to tell your grandchildren you were invited to the White House.”

“Nope. Absolutely not.”

“I don’t believe you.”

I told him he forgot I’d been a reporter for 20 years, and that to me, this is just work, not ego fodder. I said I was very conscious of the power dynamic between journalists and politicians, and the only reason the president would want to talk to bloggers is if we presented a public relations problem – that the purpose of any meeting would be to make his positions more sympathetic to us, and thus mute our criticisms. “There would simply be no point,” I said. “That’s why you don’t have anything to do with people you cover.”

“So if I called and asked if you would go with me to the White House Christmas party, you wouldn’t go.”

“Oh, I would go to that,” I said.

“So you would sell out. What’s the difference?”

“First of all, I wouldn’t be the one invited – you would. I wouldn’t be there in any official capacity, so I wouldn’t be compromising my integrity. And I hear the food is really good.”

“So you’re a hypocrite. You’d go for one thing and not the other.”

“You’re not listening to me, and if you can’t tell the difference, I can’t explain it to you.”

We’ve had some variation of this conversation a dozen times, at least.

See, the big thing that I have going for me (and the thing that makes me a more candid blogger than most) is that I absolutely hate blogging. I hate having to follow all this depressing news, I hate seeing other bloggers rationalize things in this administration we attacked mercilessly in the last, and I hate how my day (and week) never ends. I hate how my hands and arms hurt all the time.

So when I know something, I tell you. I’m not worried about whether I’ll get invited on a White House conference call (haven’t been on one in two years, gee I wonder why?) or whether I get to go on MSNBC. (I assure you, I won’t.) What I will do is give you my best take on the news, tempered by my own journalism background, my circle of contacts and a brief but highly informative experience on a high-powered political campaign.

And because I have no ulterior motive, no goal other than trying to figure out what’s going on and how it will affect people like us, you will probably get a more accurate idea of what’s happening. I mean, sometimes I’m wrong or I just don’t have any relevant information, but if I don’t, I’ll tell you that, too.

If you’re someone who wants to know those things, I hope you continue to support me. It’s worth something.

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