Politico writers Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen have written a piece called “Obama, the puppet master.” It opens this way:
President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.
The Blaze has distilled the piece down to ten of what it calls “The ten most scathing remarks”
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.
The story does contain one glaring knee slapper:
Not for the reason that conservatives suspect: namely, that a liberal press willingly and eagerly allows itself to get manipulated.
Of course it is. The press largely worships Obama. As Obama once said
Most of you covered me. All of you voted for me.
It was supposed to be a joke. It’s not.
The press “swoons” over Obama
“The behavior of the assembled press corps was telling. Everyone, myself included, swooned. Swooned! Head over heels. One or two might have even lost their minds,” Hastings writes, as each reporter had a chance to speak personally with the president. “We were all, on some level, deeply obsessed with Obama, crushing hard, still a little love there. This was nerd heaven, a politico’s paradise, the subject himself moving among us — shaking our hands, slapping our shoulders!”
Readers here know that the media being Obama’s puppets is nothing new.
It’s gotten so bad that the White House is now openly dismissive of a woman reporter
Some of the Tweets
You know Jay Carney is peeved when he says “I know you’re filling in…” Asked about sequester being an idea that came out of WH
Jay just told a CNN reporter when she asked a question, I know you are filling in. Room audibly gasped! Not good.
“This is complicated budget speak,” Jay Carney explaining sequester to fill-in White House reporter.
FYI, Carney go snarky today to substitute journo who is “filling in” today when SHE asked sequester Q. She is also black. #WarOnWomen
We can file this under “Had the Bush White House done this…”
From The Blaze
Still, in the accompanying video version of the story, Vandehei admits that while the critique of Obama being a “puppet master” who pulls strings to get favorable coverage is generally a conservative critique, it is an “accurate one”:
No kidding. One has to ask why Vandehei and Allen would put out such a piece. It could be that since the press has helped Obama get elected and re-elected it might be a good time to try to salvage reputations and Vandehei and Allen want to be the first ones out of the gate.
The White House held another “off the record” meeting with the press to mollify reporters who were frozen out during Obama’s extremely expensive golf weekend with a serial adulterer.
Politico was not invited to the meeting, which sort of proves what Vandehei and Allen were saying.