Obama and the media, not as cozy as you think

Josh Gerstein & Patrick Gavin write an article for Politco that details the Obama Administration’s relationship with reporters.  Of course most pundits claim the media has been ga ga over the President, but this article outlines why that’s not necessarily the case.

Most of what Obama says in the video above about the media is right on point.  I don’t blame the writers on the White House beat for doing their jobs, but they do ask the same questions over and over and over.  They do take “we’re not ruling anything out” as liberty to insert their own policy predictions.  Cable networks do try to drum up controversy even when there is none.

Here is one key section of Politico’s extensive article on the subject:

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.

Even still, the President as always in a no win situation.  The article says that Obama “hasn’t done a full-blown news conference for 10 months,” yet when he was networks were complaining that they wanted to run other program.  When he is on TV, you hear the President is overexposed and we’re seeing too much Obama.

It’s the same thing between athletes and the media.  An athlete and coaches gets “ripped” when he uses cliches or talk “coach speak.”  But as soon as they have an opinion, they get roasted for that too.  Makes it easier to just say nothing.

I can see the Obama White House being controlling, though some of what the media considers controlling is actually discipline.  Media outlets jump on Joe Biden’s BFD moments, but would rather talk about Peter Orzag’s personal life than his thoughts on new initiatives of the federal government to work with small businesses.

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