If that headline surprised you, think of how the administration felt. They were a little out of their minds over this one. They overreacted to the point that they’ve recently begun pulling back from it a little. We all have to understand that they’re not used to this though. I’m sure this will be a lesson learned for them for the future.
It used to bother me when George W. Bush did not answer his critics. It bothered me that he allowed some charges to go unanswered. Bush’s answer to those of us who were bothered by it was that he didn’t consider it presidential to get in the mud with the mudslingers. To my mind this allowed the Nasty side of Broadcasting Companies to say whatever they wanted to say, and they would know that the Bush administration wouldn’t put forth an answer to it.
The Obama administration has no problems deflecting their critics. The Boston Herald is reporting today that The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser. The Herald is reporting that this refusal is based on the Herald’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news “fairly.”
Imagine if the Bush administration failed to give full access to their events to a Nastier side of Broadcasting Companies, or a Corrupt Broadcasting Service, or even A Biased Company that didn’t give the administration unbiased reporting, their press conferences would be as sparsely attended as Michael Moore movies.
“I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters,” White House spokesman Matt Lehrich wrote in response to a Herald request for full access to the presidential visit.
They are VERY sensitive.
“My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting US President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the President’s visits,” Lehrich wrote.
One newspaper doesn’t 100% fawn over “a sitting US President” and they FLIP OUT! “No fair! No Fair! You didn’t give us top billing!” (Insert the mental image of a five year old bawling and dropping to the floor and kicking and screaming here.) “So, we’re not going to let you play in our games anymore!”
The article goes onto talk about this White House’s clash with any media outlet that doesn’t agree with it 100%. They battled with Fox News early in the administration, but that seems to have ended for the time being.
In April 2010, Bloomberg’s Ed Chen, president of the White House Correspondent’s Association, met with then-Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to hash out complaints about limitations on the press, saying, “In my 10-plus years at the White House, rarely have I sensed such a level of anger … over White House practices and attitudes toward the press.”
They’re thin-skinned. They’re probably not cut out for this level of scrutiny.
Last month, a San Francisco Chronicle editor reported the White House threatened to bar Hearst reporters from pool duty after a Chronicle reporter shot video of protestors mocking Obama at a fund-raiser.
Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor who has followed White House-press relations at right-leaning Instapundit.com, said a pattern appears to be developing.
“It’s all about control,” Reynolds said. “At some point this will blow back on them. Most presidents behave in a more refined fashion. Experience has shown that acting presidential is good politics and to their advantage.”
The piece did not mention then candidate Obama’s confrontation with left wing columnist Maureen Dowd, asking her to stop making fun of his ears. He said, “I was teased relentlessly when I was a kid about my big ears.” What an admission. If that had been Bush, Dowd probably would’ve run a caricature of Bush with large ears as her next column…nothing more just the face and the ears, and it would’ve been funny. We all would’ve laughed at the arrogant, audacious nature of a president trying to control his image so openly.
If a kid was dumb enough to ask a bully to stop teasing him on the playground, he would get hounded. If Obama had tried that on the playground, no wonder he got “teased relentlessly”. The jackals would pounce at the first sign of weakness on the playgrounds I played on in my youth. On those playgrounds, everyone was adversarial. You could ask your friends to stop teasing you, and they might consider it, but other than that it was king of the mountain every day with everyone.
It was king of the mountain every day during the Bush Administration. The press were the bullies. Those in the Bush administration were their targets. The press stated that they were simply fulfilling their Constitutional duties of being the fourth estate. What are they doing now then? It doesn’t appear to me that they have the same adversarial relationship with the Obama administration. He asks them to stop making fun of his ears, they stop. He tells a joke, they laugh. He tells them his side of the story, they run with it…until one of them doesn’t, until a Boston Herald steps out of line, and they need to get spanked.
It says a great deal about the press and their relationship with the media when the administration begins picking and choosing who can cover their events. It says a lot about the administration and the press when stories like these aren’t covered by the media at large. It says that they’re used to favorable coverage, and when they don’t get it they act very unpresidental. Those who despise George W. Bush will say the most deplorable and childish things, but one thing they cannot say is that he was thin-skinned. He acted presidential in the face of media criticism.