Friday, February 22, 2013
White House Press Corp Drama – Complains About Access, “Forgiven” –Except for Politico – Suddenly Transparency is at Issue.
The White House Press Corp – Image and Article from DM News “Reporters Notebook – Controlling the Message in the White House”>
The drama that has evolved between the White House Press Corp and President Obama began with a golf outing in Palm Beach – the President preferred to Golf alone with Tiger Woods, the Press Corp was invited along for the ride, but there was no access to the President and his Partner during the games. Consequently, the Press Corp became disgruntled and frustrated over “lack of access” to the President during what surely must have been a crucial meeting. Perhaps it was not so much the lack of access to the actual golf game, for if that is the case, the once-proud organization has been rendered completely useless. It would be better if, after being perceived as nothing more than a “mouthpiece” for the past 5 years and asking relatively no tough questions, those who truly are journalists, and care about their unique position as watchdog between the Oval Office and the Public, have simply had enough.
The White House Press Corp has a history - that began in 1914 at the suggestion of President Wilson. Although not a formal institution at the time, there were reporters who had been assigned to cover the President, Wilson unsure about who to include, passed the decision off to the “Congressional Standing Committee of Correspondents”, the original reporters (11) were incensed, and thus the Official White House Press Corp Association was formed. (WHCA) Generally speaking one would conclude that a journalist assigned to the White House, would be a watchdog of sort, having more access to the President than any others in their field. Ample opportunity has been given in the past to give those members the ability to ask tough questions, and develop, through print, a complete portrait of the individual who held the highest elected office in the nation. Developing, if one will, a series of snapshots that would give the reader a more complete idea of who was sitting in the oval office – a serial biography.
This particular President, compared to his predecessors, according to some, has been given a pass in general, on every topic, on every decision, by those in the media that have access or not – Bush and Clinton enjoyed no such “look the other way” behavior by the crème de la crème, of said media, the White House Press Corp. Times have changed.
Now, that those members had dared to complain, some of their counterparts rallied around the President (See Rachael Maddow, MSNBC, video on the subject (1:45 mark) at Mediabistro.com., the balance ignored the story completely. To those who complained, the President met with all of them, except for one, Politico.
Politico’s most recent piece, is a follow-up to the litany of complaints regarding access and including those links to articles written under the Politico banner regarding access. The Title “President Obama holds off-record meeting with top White House reporters”, speaks about the invitation to the Press Corp, to meet with the President after the complaints, with the exception of Politico’s White House Press Corp member – apparently due to being unapologetic to the President. Politico.
For a once-respected organization, that gave more formidable men and women that Carney, the current Press Secretary, fits, the current crop is perceived as rather benign, taking notes, rather than rendering Carney speechless, without comebacks and stuttering while C-SPAN camera’s roll on.
What did they expect?
More to the point, what good would a pass to watch the President golf with Tiger Woods accomplish? – It’s certainly not the PGA, and there was an appropriate reporter following the game – one from Gold Digest. One might not expect the President of the United States to give any pertinent information during a golf outing, a time when one is enjoying a break from “work”. Moreover, if there was something going on that the Press Corp could file, besides the fact that the President was golfing with Tiger Woods, it is doubtful that there would be anything in the Press as a result. Not in this era, not with this President and not with the collective Press.
When one is looked at as more of a propagandist than one who truly practices a craft, then one has a lot of nerve complaining. That is how this is being perceived by those who have read, watched or listened in stunned disbelief while “Rome” burned, and there was a virtual “blackout” of any further questions that may have answered questions or otherwise shed light on situations that left more than a few on the table. The situation is Benghazi for one, given the national coverage, or lack therefore, of the events leading to the deaths of an American Ambassador, and those Marine’s attempting to protect him. The general public, (otherwise considered “low information voters”) are not even aware of what occurred. (Moreover, the lack of attention to actual news has developed “low information voters” to begin with – the Press being an accomplice so to speak.
One used to count on the news to enlighten, not entertain, or be a mouthpiece for a political idea, a party or President – Op-eds, or editorial content was found in one section of the paper, or one segment of the news, rather than scattered through any given publication, including the sports section, where they now reside.
Politico, being one of the aforementioned, appears to be nothing more, at this point, than a child being “punished” for disobeying a “parent”, and shouting loudly on order to get that “parents” attention. Perhaps if they should loud enough, the President will grant them access – Once granted, they will go back to being the willing, and useful, left wing of the White House. Should they stand for an organization and a profession that had been held in the highest esteem by the general American Public since 1690, when the short-lived Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, out of Boston, was published (History.org), then that would spark the beginning of a revolution of sorts, leaving ideology at the door, and doing a bit of straight reporting. Something that is sorely missed, by those who had a belief in the press, at a time when the editorial section was the only place one would find opinion in the grand old newspaper.
Posted by Tina Hemond at 7:05 AM
Labels: History of the White House Press Corp. The changes in the U.S. Press., Politico White House Press Corp, White House Press Corp