Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Our Prima Donna Press

I'm more than a little tired of hearing about how the Obama administration is "breaking protocol" by cutting the White House press corps out of the loop and failing to make themselves available at the beck and call of the reporters. I mean, who wrote that protocol? I recall reading a piece about Nixon in China some time ago where the reporters only figured out he was having an important meeting because one of them happened to see him leaving. They literally chased him down the streets. Now the WHPC whines at length about Obama having the audacity to go to his kid's soccer game without informing them first so they could tag along.

Today's hissy fit is about the White House allowing Kagan to do a video in her own words.
"It appears that Solicitor General Kagan did an interview yesterday right after the president's announcement," said a reporter. "You've now posted that on the White House Web site. Who did the interview? And can I have one?"

"I think it's -- I think it's on the website if you want to see it," responded Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Soon after, the reporter can be heard saying, an edge in her voice, "So a White House staffer interviewing her."

Gibbs says yes, and the reporter asks if Kagan would like to do another interview.

"She has -- she's not told me that, no," replied Gibbs, prompting the reporter to respond, "Tell her we're deeply frustrated." [...]

"This White House has taken its use of the web to a new level with this move," said CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer. "The ultimate unfiltered message. Kagan 'in her own words' without anyone else's words."
In other words, they're pissed because they don't get to set the narrative. What's wrong with her telling her own story without some soundbyte addicted journo looking to throw some irrelevant "gotcha" question at her? I wouldn't mind the complaints if they were actually asking good questions, but those seem to be far and few between and aren't generally being thrown out by the folks in the front row that get to ask the bulk of them. And does anyone recall all the pre-hearing interviews that Roberts and Alito gave or the press complaints about the lack of them? Me neither.

Besides, it's not like they hold everyone to the same standard. They simply didn't show this level of disrespect or skepticism towards the Bush administration and how about insisting Sarah Palin actually make on the record remarks instead of their breathlessly reporting every tweet and Facebook posting as news? Don't recall any complaints about her "controlling the message" and she jerks them around like puppets on a string. I'd have a lot more sympathy for the lack of access if they showed some consistency in their criticism and actually asked meaningful questions when they get it.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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