In a very interesting “mea culpa” article, ABC News’ political column The Note lists a huge amount of stories that should get more recognition, but for one reason or another, don’t get major coverage.

With all those reporters covering politics and government in Washington and around the country, you would think that the press would be watching the powerful on behalf of the people pretty persistently.

But you would be wrong.

On any given day, owing to tight budgets, the evasiveness of those we cover, and the generally (sorry ? ) lazy nature of some reporters, way too much of what gets covered in politics and government are the spoon-fed public events that the communications staffs want covered.

Even “enterprise” and investigative stories tend these days to come not from innovative shoe-leather work, but rather are generated (and often thoroughly researched by) interest groups, political actors, and other non-journalists who want to see a story come out.

…for every newsworthy evasive action we learn about (because the press gets tipped off or stumbles into something or finds something through hard work), there are literally thousands that never come to light.

With the president headed off to sell Medicare reform in Chicago (and, we bet, suck up to Mayor Daley big time), and the Senate poised to announce today a plan for dealing with what Democrats still see as a ticking time bomb for the president — the intelligence questions surrounding the missing weapons of mass destruction — the questions of hide-and-seek and American political journalism are front and center for us today.

So, we offer you several outstandingly illustrative examples.

~~The article doesn’t have a permalink yet — it will next week, but there’s no telling if I’ll remember to come back and re-link it.~~

[Update:]{.underline} Here’s the permalink. For future reference, though, the title is “W’s WMDs Aren’t the Only Things Missing”, published on June 11, 2003.

(via Lambert)