Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oh, The Press Feels Neglected... Wahhh

Over at Politico, they are discussing the allegedly antagonistic relationship between the White House press corps and the Obama Administration...
Reporters say the White House is thin-skinned, controlling, eager to go over their heads and stingy with even basic information. All White Houses try to control the message. But this White House has pledged to be more open than its predecessors, and reporters feel it doesn’t live up to that pledge in several key areas:

— Day-to-day interaction with Obama is almost nonexistent, and he talks to the press corps far less often than Bill Clinton or even George W. Bush did. Clinton took questions nearly every weekday, on average. Obama barely does it once a week.

— The ferocity of pushback is intense. A routine press query can draw a string of vitriolic e-mails. A negative story can draw a profane high-decibel phone call or worse. Some reporters feel like they’ve been frozen out after crossing the White House.

— Except toward a few reporters, press secretary Robert Gibbs can be distant and difficult to reach — even though his job is to be one of the main conduits from president to press. “It’s an odd White House where it’s easier to get the White House chief of staff on the phone than the White House press secretary,” one top reporter said.

— And at the very moment many reporters feel shut out, one paper — The New York Times — enjoys a favoritism from Obama and his staff that makes competitors fume, with gift-wrapped scoops and loads of presidential face time.
The fact that the press is just figuring out that our President is thin-skinned is actually pretty hilarious -- it's telling that this President seems utterly incapable of making a decent self-deprecating joke, which would be a sign of humility. Most of his humor comes from mocking others -- and since he's become less popular over time, he's beginning to mroe and more resemble a bully.

But the rest of the whining from the press is pathetic. They anointed this guy, and they damn well saw how his campaign team pushed back on just about anything critical, with the ferocity of a Chicago pol. And if they are just determining that Robert Gibbs can be a bit of a prick, I'm worried about their ability to ferret out stories. What's truly funny here is that the press wouldn't do anything with the access when they had it. And even if they get it back, it's doubtful that they will do anything with it, since it has become clear that they will be frozen out if they report even-handedly on the President rather than kiss butt.

The Anchoress has a fabulous analogy about this...
It reminds me a little of that scene in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, when Ferris opines that Cameron will marry the first girl who has sex with him, but “She won’t respect him,” Ferris says, “’cause you can’t respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn’t work.”
That last line may be a good description of both the press relationship with this Administration, and the Administration itself.

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