David Cox asks why Frost-Nixon could never happen today. His point is that, more than 30 years ago after David Frost's successful extraction of guilt from Richard Nixon, journalists like Frost have gone soft in their interviewing of politicians. Cox blames the obsequious "Frostie" for this development, a journalist who apparently is more interested in joining the British establishment than in destroying it.
What really interested me most about Ron Howard's excellent Frost-Nixon movie is its reminder of what media was like in 1977. Back then, there was no cable tv, no YouTube, no alternative to the handful of dominant channels in mainstream television. And so for Nixon to make his appeal to the American people, to present his side of the story, he needed to go through mainstream media. And for all Frost's supposed superficiality as a political interviewer, there was never any question about his impartiality or his professionalism.
Fast forward to today's infinitely splintered media landscape. Once again, we have a massively unpopular ex American president who will, no doubt, want to put his case to the American people. Likewise, we all want an apology from George W. Bush about Iraq as well an admission of guilt about the non-existence of those WMDs. But in a media world which has blurred the distinction between professional and amateur content, what's to stop Bush orchestrating an interview with a supposedly neutral journalist on the Internet? We all know about the YouTube Presidency. What worries me is a YouTube post-presidency.