Sarah Palin and Greta Van Susteren Friday slapped around the White House press corps for being more worried about its “inside access” than holding President Obama accountable.
Have a look:
Van Susteren is right. Part of the reason for the passivity of the press corps – and this is the most passive group I’ve seen in 15 years working there – stems from the legitimate concern that the White House will cut off access.
But Palin makes an excellent point, which Van Sustern agrees with:
So what if you lose access to Obama? You know why people don’t want to lose — I mean, the American people don’t care if a reporter isn’t going to have access to the Obama administration, because what is coming back as a result of having that privilege … is this lack of transparency, is more confusion, is more uncertainty, and it’s lies. So, why in the world would a reporter be concerned about whether they are going to get more of that fed to them, those lies, the uncertainty, the murky answers to questions being asked? I wouldn’t care about having that access when you know what the result is.
So often, when you cover the White House, the stuff you get “on background” is pretty much the same as the junk you hear on the record. And reporters have to make the calculation about whether the tidbits of inside dope they get that are new are really worth dropping the mission of tough, skeptical reporting.
Waiting for David Plouffe to call you back and chat with you on background might get you a nice little story, and technically put you ahead of your competitors, but it’s not what makes for great journalism. I don’t think Bob Woodward made his name by schmoozing H.R. Haldeman.
What really counts is finding out what the White House doesn’t want you to know, holding it accountable for its actions, and quizzing the press secretary and the president with brutal persistence. With a few exceptions, there is too little of that from the White House press corps today.
And it’s quite possible to maintain your relationships at the White House even if you are tough on them. They’re big boys and girls, they understand the game. In fact, they understand the game so well that they’ve figured out how to intimidate a lot of reporters into not playing it.
H/T to the Daily Caller.