February 20, 2013

Hell hath no fury like a bunch of useful idiots in the mainstream press, scorned

The most transparent administration ever!  Which we know to be true because Obama consistently asserts it.  And in a postmodern presidency, where anti-foundationalism is the ruling “philosophy,” it’s the assertion that acts as the performative, not anything concrete that the assertion refers to.   Meaning, manufactured consent and perception, built on the repetition of assertions and parroted by a compliant media, come to count as fact, whereas actual fact is to be dismissed as a piece with the tyranny of Enlightenment logic — itself racist and oppressive and then racist again.

Only, the compliant, sycophantic media — who has long given cover to Obama, despite offering excuses now for their fawning, biased reportage  (it’s not as conservatives expect, you see; that is, they’re aren’t all in with Obama’s agenda) — is starting to realize that, well, Obama’s just not all that into them:

“President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.”

If anyone asked you where those remarks came from, you’d likely say it was some conservative news outlet or blog. You might even say it was the rant of a Republican pundit.

But you would be wrong on all levels.

That quote is actually the opening line to a scathing, four-page column by Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen on Politico.


The anger from the press came to a head this past weekend when the press corps wasn’t allowed full access to the president’s golf vacation (read our original story here).”That breached the tradition of the pool ‘holding’ in the clubhouse and often covering — and even questioning — the president on the first and last holes,” Politico explains.

The Politico article is filled with plenty of shots at the president and administration that vowed to be the most transparent. So we’ve included 10 of the most scathing sections that capture just how icy the press relationship has become.

10. President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.

9. “The White House gets away with stuff I would never have dreamed of doing. When I talk to White House reporters now, they say it’s really tough to do business with people who don’t see the need to be cooperative.” — Former Bill Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry

8. The president has shut down interviews with many of the White House reporters who know the most and ask the toughest questions. Instead, he spends way more time talking directly to voters via friendly shows and media personalities. Why bother with The New York Times beat reporter when Obama can go on “The View”?

7. Obama boasted Thursday during a Google+ Hangout from the White House: “This is the most transparent administration in history.” The people who cover him day to day see it very differently.

6. “The way the president’s availability to the press has shrunk in the last two years is a disgrace,” said ABC News White House reporter Ann Compton, who has covered every president back to Gerald R. Ford. “The president’s day-to-day policy development — on immigration, on guns — is almost totally opaque to the reporters trying to do a responsible job of covering it. There are no readouts from big meetings he has with people from the outside, and many of them aren’t even on his schedule. This is different from every president I covered. This White House goes to extreme lengths to keep the press away.” [Emphasis added]

5. But something is different with this White House. Obama’s aides are better at using technology and exploiting the president’s “brand.” They are more disciplined about cracking down on staff that leak, or reporters who write things they don’t like. And they are obsessed with taking advantage of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and every other social media forums, not just for campaigns, but governing.

4. Conservatives assume a cozy relationship between this White House and the reporters who cover it. Wrong. Many reporters find Obama himself strangely fearful of talking with them and often aloof and cocky when he does. They find his staff needlessly stingy with information and thin-skinned about any tough coverage. He gets more-favorable-than-not coverage because many staffers are fearful of talking to reporters, even anonymously, and some reporters inevitably worry access or the chance of a presidential interview will decrease if they get in the face of this White House. ?[Emphasis added]

3. *The super-safe, softball interview is an Obama specialty. The kid glove interview of Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by Steve Kroft of CBS’s “60 Minutes” is simply the latest in a long line of these. Obama gives frequent interviews (an astonishing 674 in his first term, compared with 217 for President George W. Bush), but they are often with network anchors or local TV stations, and rarely with the reporters who cover the White House day to day.

2. * There’s the classic weekend document dump to avoid negative coverage. By our count, the White House has done this nearly two dozen times, and almost always to minimize attention to embarrassing or messy facts. “What you guys call a document dump, we call transparency,” the White House’s Earnest shot back. If that’s the case, the White House was exceptionally transparent during the Solyndra controversy, releasing details three times on a Friday.

1. * While White House officials deny it is intentional, this administration —like its predecessors — does some good old-fashioned bullying of reporters: making clear there will be no interviews, or even questions at press conferences, if aides are displeased with their coverage.


— All of which I have to say makes me dubious. Because, c’mon, “softball interviews”? I hardly think so. Why, look at this compilation of Obama being absolutely grilled on, among other things, his insistence that he’s cut $2.5 Trillion in spending (and yet somehow managed to increase the deficit); or that the sequestration that he designed is somehow a nefarious GOP plot to make draconian cuts of $85 Billion to teachers, FBI agents, air-traffic controllers, and drown little pre-born infants in their own amniotic fluids to save a few bucks for the super-dooper rich, who won’t pay their fair share (again, despite recent tax hikes on those same rich, which turned out to include payroll tax hikes on everyone); or where he was and what he was doing while the consulate in Benghazi was under attack; or what he knew about “Fast and Furious.”

I’d say this is proof positive that these mewling reporters have plenty of access, and that Obama is willing to answer even the toughest of questions. Because that’s what transparent administrations do, and this being the MOST transparent of all the transparent administrations in the history of ever, well… QED:

The defense rests.

(h/t Sarah R)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:42am

Comments (27)

  1. This isn’t anything new, Newsies. Read The Boys on the Bus and be glad you have air-conditioning and girl reporters to help pass the time.

  2. …be glad you have air-conditioning and girl reporters to help pass the time.

    I’m not too sure that most of those guys would know what to do with a girl if you gave him an illustrated pamphlet and a six-pack of wine coolers. NTTAWWT.

  3. And what did they ask him at their first press opportunity after the men’s only Obama weekend? “Did you beat Tiger?”
    Yeah, Obama is such an expert at all he does that it’s perfectly reasonable to inquire whether he beat one of the best professional golfers ever. Now that’s some hard-hitting, non-sychophantic journalism.

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  5. “Did you beat Tiger?”

    Imagine that Obama’s black half was caught beating Tiger’s white half. Would that story be reported differently if Obama’s white half beat Tiger’s black half? What if there was a White Hispanic looking on?

  6. What Obama’s opponents need to recognize is that what Obama’s doing works. Treat the press like crap, and they love you for it. It’s a great way to promote your own power over them.

    Romney and McCain both decided to be nice to the press, but who got better coverage?

  7. @ Squid –

    That depends, was anyone called “Boy” during the match?

  8. Of course Obama beat Tiger.

    If a 100 lb Norwegian girl with a golf club scared him so bad he jumped in his car and crashed into a tree, imagine what the steely stare of a burly Secret Service Agent kicking his ball in the bushes did.

  9. Press: “He promised to call, if we swallowed. Which we did, repeatedly. I can’t believe he’s treating us this way.”


  10. Tiger remarks on how good the President’s game is.

    Yet, not a single comment from any comedian along the lines of “Well, with as much time as President Ladies T practices, one would hope the president plays a good game of golf.”

  11. Treat the press like crap, and they love you for it.

    Then why haven’t I already been canonized?

  12. “Then why haven’t I already been canonized?”

    Because you’re not a young, bright, clean and articulate black man?

  13. Then why haven’t I already been canonized?

    Because for that strategy to work you must have proven yourself a serial liar.

    Woulda worked for Romney and McCain though I bet.

  14. Because you’re not a young, bright, clean and articulate black man?

    I should get credit for four — no, three — um, two — okay one out of five.

  15. If a 100 lb Norwegian girl with a golf club . . .

    I have undying admiration for Elin for smashing up Tiger’s entire Trophy Room and then taking after him with a nine iron when she learned he’d been banging all those whoo-ers. She managed to bash in his windshield as he was backing away like a little bitch.

  16. Huh. Is this anything like those wymmin in their Slut Walks ™ complaining that, after they act and dress all slutty, us knuckle-dragging men don’t respect them?

    Nope. Couldn’t be.

  17. McGehee wrote: I should get credit for four — no, three — um, two — okay one out of five.

    Let us hope that one was ‘clean’.

  18. Presented without any comment. Whatsoever. None. Wouldn’t want to hear ‘feet’s defense of Kevin Jennings repeated. Nothing worse than pikachu screechings, really.


  19. I don’t get no credit respect.

  20. i’m a go get me some tockerbell Mr. serr8d but only as a donut preventative not cause I really want it plus i want to hear some loud musics

    I’m super groggy today even after yesterday’s lipotropic

    but man what’s up with Obama being all gay and shit good luck getting re-elected, homo

    right? am I right?

  21. Kinda shows how a gay man can cheat on his wife same as a straight man, so there’s that.

  22. Wouldn’t want to hear ‘feet’s defense of Kevin Jennings repeated. Nothing worse than pikachu screechings, really.

    The pikachu doth protest too much on such subjects. Hits too close to home, I reckon.

  23. i think you’re overreacting

  24. good thing this is an electronic format. this much sarcasm on dead tree and the paper would combust.

    as to the topic at hand, bitchez gotta protect their investment. this explains everything about todays press.

  25. “Then why haven’t I already been canonized?”

    The way things are going they’ll get around to cannonizing us soon enough, and charge our families for the charge and shot.

    Oh, you said canonize. I don’t think there will be many books in their brave new world. You don’t want to be made a saint because you’d have to sit next to Sandra Fluke and listen to Gaia’s moaning all day. They might digitize you though. Give you the finger…y’know.

  26. *** And if any one should reply: Many have been princes, and have done great things with armies, who have been considered very liberal, I reply: Either a prince spends that which is his own or his subjects’ or else that of others. In the first case he ought to be sparing, in the second he ought not to neglect any opportunity for liberality. And to the prince who goes forth with his army, supporting it by pillage, sack, and extortion, handling that which belongs to others, this liberality is necessary, otherwise he would not be followed by soldiers. And of that which is neither yours nor your subjects’ you can be a ready giver, as were Cyrus, Caesar, and Alexander; because it does not take away your reputation if you squander that of others, but adds to it; it is only squandering your own that injures you. ***

  27. What is truly pathetic is they didn’t get upset about all the shit they have been spoon fed about the TEA party undermining the budget talks (NPR finally had a bit the other day admitting Boehner delivered the votes, but Obama reneged on the deal then blamed it all on the Republicans), they didn’t get upset about being stonewalled on Fast and Furious or Benghazi or any of the other outrages.

    No. They got pissed because the couldn’t fucking cover Obama playing fucking golf with Tiger fucking Woods on his fucking vacation.

    We don’t have a press corps, we have a bunch of panty sniffing retards chasing celebrities.