Business journalists’ praise for Jobs puzzles Commentary’s ‘Press Man’

Andrew Ferguson devotes his latest “Press Man” column in Commentary to the curious profusion of “rose petals that came fluttering from every media outlet this fall” as Apple CEO Steve Jobs retired and then died.

Reporters and columnists who cover business may be the most ideologically motivated journalists in any large newsroom. Various explanations have been advanced for why this is so. One possibility is envy: If you’re of a certain cast of mind, few experiences are more embittering than watching people who are dumber and less sophisticated than you make a lot more money. Whatever its cause, we shouldn’t question the hostility that most business reporters express toward buying, selling, marketing, investing, and every other underregulated activity that a businessman uses to create wealth that the reporters can’t get their hands on.

Yet even business writers loved Jobs—especially business writers. …

… Other liberal commentators were so grief-stricken by Jobs’s death that they had no choice but to insult Republicans. In honor of the “great inventor, great businessman, great innovator, great American,” Jamie Malanowski of Washington Monthly mocked the conservative interest in marginal tax rates: “Do you think for an instant he ever said, ‘You know, this i-Pad [sic] is just sensational, and the i-phone [sic] is just going to rock the universe. Thank God the marginal tax rate isn’t three points hire [sic—he’s blogging!], because otherwise, I just couldn’t be bothered.’”

The environmental reporter for ThinkProgress wondered, “What with Republicans slashing funding for clean energy, who else will be the engine of innovation, efficiency, and dematerialization?” (Dematerialization? Now that would be magic.) And the veteran journalist James Warren contrasted Jobs’s futuristic vision with Republicans who “think small”; he cited House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s reluctance to spend federal money on disaster relief unless it was offset by other spending cuts.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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