Saturday, May 23, 2009

Reporters Banned from White House Event – Obama Administration Produces “State News”

During a recent, yet on the face of it, inconsequentialmeeting between the UConn Women’s Basketball Team and the President, the White House press corp was held back, while the President and Team met sans press. Later a video of the event, produced by the White House (shown below) was released. This appears to have some reporters a bit perturbed, including ABC’s Jack Tapper, whose piece on the ABC News Blog, Political Punch, questions how far the President is willing to go when it comes to avoiding tough questions from the press.

This should come as no surprise to those journalists and the public who were given insight into Obama’s politicals inspiration, Abraham Lincoln, and his outreach to leaders of certain nations that filter news to fit a specific message (Venezuela). In reviewing tactics used by Lincoln when he felt pressured by nagging reporters and editors who were less than enthralled with certain practices, Lincoln merely suspended the Constitution and jailed those editors who disagreed with his point of view.

Although the scenario that either State sponsored news broadcasts or the incarceration of journalists and editors is somewhat far fetched, considering the outlets available to anyone with a communications device, the concept of the President of the “Free World” giving a one-sided view of events is a bit unnerving. The “News Cast” below, complete with the “White House Logo” (*mentioned as OTV by Mr. Tapper) is available on YouTube, reaching a demographics that would, in all likelihood, not be watching ABC, NBC, CBS or Cable News broadcasts – those in younger demographics. To date, that video has received 509,601 impressions on site, and is most likely posted to social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook) as well as blogs (see below). (In other words, a very small, but easily influenced, segment of the population.) It appears to be more “vanity” on the part of the President (who also, one must be reminded, purchased Channel 73 on the Dish Networkduring the campaign.

Also, the move to YouTube is not new for the Administration; videos have been appearing for the past 4 months, in some instances using the White House Logo as an identifier. That said, in those instances where there was an event, including bringing home a new dog, reporters were surely attendance. Therein lays the rub. Should the press continue to be “pushed back”, then it might behoove Mr. Tapper and his peers to take it to the people they serve, granted Network News certainly will not reach those that prefer “OTV” to a brand of journalism that does not fit a prescribed point of view. Perhaps Jack Tapper has a different concern:

prop•a•gan•da (prŏp'ə-gān'də)
Official government communications to the public that are designed to influence opinion. The information may be true or false, but it is always carefully selected for its political effect.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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