As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: journalism

WH Correspondents’ Assn. Presidents Rip Trump and Clinton

The outgoing and incoming presidents of the White House Correspondents’ Association, respectively Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal and Jeff Mason of Reuters, have written an op-ed in USA Today criticizing the treatment of the press by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

From the piece:

The White House Correspondents’ Association is alarmed by the treatment of the press in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The public’s right to know is infringed if certain reporters are banned from a candidate’s events because the candidate doesn’t like a story they have written or broadcast, as Donald Trump has done.

Similarly, refusing to regularly answer questions from reporters in a press conference, as Hillary Clinton has, deprives the American people of hearing from their potential commander-in-chief in a format that is critical to ensuring he or she is accountable for policy positions and official acts . . .

The United States will not have a free press if its president gets to choose which journalists and which media organizations are allowed access to the executive branch. We will not have a truly free press and an informed electorate if the president doesn’t believe he or she should be held accountable to inquiries from the media.

As a White House reporter, I am a member of the White House Correspondents’ Association. I know this won’t be popular with some of you, but I completely agree with the conclusions in the piece, and I applaud Lee and Mason for taking an aggressive stance.

Hillary Clinton’s failure to answer questions is reprehensible. She has a lot to hide, and she’s hiding it. Though I haven’t experienced it myself, her lackeys no doubt try to intimidate the press when negative stories that are written, just like the Obama people did.

Trump takes all press scrutiny personally and doesn’t seem to have any conception of the roll of reporters in performing accountability on politicians. His decision to ban many reporters from his press conferences stinks of the actions of a third-world despot. And his demagogic press bashing during his speeches is a play to the crowd that is unhealthy for our democracy.

To be sure, the press has undermined itself by failing to restrain its liberal bias. But most mainstream news reporters I know — not all, but most — do their best to keep their own agenda out of it and honestly report the news. Bias creeps in anyway, because we’re human. But the cause of accountability for politicians is so important that even if there is some bias, a potential president demonizing and banning the press is a danger to the republic.

Presidential candidates should allow access to all responsible journalists, even those with an opinion, whether from the left or the right. The Founders enshrined freedom of the press in the First Amendment, and for good reason.

Video || This is Why Trump’s Journo-Bashing Scores Points

Watch here as the three CBS This Morning anchors nod together in self-satisfied disgust at the failure to advance gun control. As if there wasn’t a conservative in their audience or another opinion in the land.

How smug, and ultimately, how dumb. To be so sure of one’s opinions that nobody could possibly disagree, and to be so blithely unaware that, as “mainstream” journalists, they have a responsibility to be nonpartisan.

And then in another segment, surely, they’ll profess to be astounded and outraged that Donald Trump is drawing excitement and applause by bashing the press.

Well, my fellow journalists, this is why Trump’s followers don’t care — and are even gleeful — when he bans certain news organizations from following him. Because you, in your ignorance, have opened the door to such hostility. And unfortunately, a lot of people think a comeuppance is a long time coming.

H/T for the video to Washington Free Beacon.

Frank Luntz Explains Why Trump’s Attacks on the Press Work

GOP pollster Frank Luntz this morning explained why Donald Trump’s denigration of the press is “so powerful.”

“The only people who have credibility ratings as unfavorable as members of Congress, are members of the press,” he said on Fox News. “The average voter thinks, finally, somebody is standing up to them, shouting them down, and putting them back in their place.” People are “tired of being told what to think, and how to think by the press.”

Luntz also said Bill Kristol’s apparent choice of writer and attorney David French to run for president is “meaningless.” French, whom nobody has ever heard of, is not a credible candidate, Luntz said.

Oops! CBS Anchor Says “We Were All Laughing” at GOP Travails

CBS The Morning anchor Gayle King accidentally said “we were all laughing” at Republicans when the Republican convention seemed threatened with disorder, clearly lamenting that the Democrats were now themselves a “hot mess” because their convention is where violence is threatened.

That’s a good little window into the presumptions of Washington journalists. She’s there with her colleagues and feels comfortable remarking that they were “laughing” at the Republicans, because of course everyone would be in agreement that bad tidings for Republicans is pretty funny.

Unless a journalist is with an obviously conservative or right-leaning media outlet, you can pretty much assume they are liberal. But you knew that.

Obama and His Washington Press Patsies

I have a piece running in LifeZette today about National Security Council communications chief Ben Rhodes’ manipulation of the press and what it reveals about the cooperation between the White House and Washington reporters. Thought you might want to take a look.

From the piece:

The crazy world that is Inside-the-Beltway politics is agog this week over revelations of the symbiotic, sycophantic relationship between the White House and Washington journalists. While it’s well known here, the dirty secret of Washington journalism is how reliant the press is on the government officials it covers — and how the dependency is only going to get worse.

“The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old. Their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” said Rhodes. “They literally know nothing.” What many Washington reporters don’t want you to know is that they need the people they cover — desperately — and that the role of the press as a provider of accountability that puts a check on government power is in deep decline. More likely, dead as a door nail.

Rhodes, who not only spins policy but makes it, spoke contemptuously this week to The New York Times about the reporters he puppets.

With the press so compliant, it should be no surprise that it took Congress and a watchdog group of lawyers — not some modern-day Woodward and Bernstein — to break the stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails and about how the American public was lied to about Benghazi.

Read the rest of the article at LifeZette.

MSNBC-White House Revolving Door

Rachel Racusen, who just this past November left the White House to join MSNBC, will now return to the White House in a role close to the one she had left.

According to Politico:

Racusen, who joined MSNBC as vice president of communications in November, will be a White House strategic communications adviser, White House communications director Jen Psaki said in an email to staff. Before leaving the administration last year, Racusen was associate White House communications director . . .

“I’ve been lucky to get to work with the great team at MSNBC. Unexpectedly, the White House reached out with an exciting opportunity to help spearhead long-term communications priorities during their “fourth quarter,” and it will be an honor to return to work for the President and his administration in this new capacity,” Racusen said.

You would think a news organization, even one that is obviously biased, would at least have a “cooling off period” before directly installing a White House official on its staff.

But today, mainstream journalism is not just overtly biased. It is actually politicized, hiring freshly picked former administration officials to supposedly serve as “analysts” when it’s never really clear the extent they are still working for their former bosses.

Schieffer: “Maybe We Were Not Skeptical Enough” of Obama

Now you tell us.

Exiting CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer admitted to Fox News’ Howard Kurtz in an interview broadcast Sunday that just maybe perhaps the media went a little too easy on Barack Obama in 2008.

Let me tell you something. I was there as part of the MSM during the campaign. The media, as a general rule, acquiesced in the proposition that Obama was something different. Not really a politician. Some went through the motions of questioning him, but in their hearts they knew he was different.

With a few exceptions, they bought the storyline sold to them and the country by Obama’s seasoned political operatives. You really couldn’t say on polite journalistic company that maybe Obama was full of it. Without being suspected of being one of them. You know, a conservative. Someone not down with the great vision of this post-political, post-partisan, crusader for the good.

Not that they’re looking for their money back or even understand what happened to them. Schieffer, at least a little bit and with clear reluctance, does.

From the interviews:

KURTZ: Many people in this country, as you know, think the three broadcast networks are too biased, too liberal. Would you agree looking back in the media gave Barack Obama an incredibly easy ride in 2008, and for much of his presidency?

SCHIEFFER: Well, I think the whole political world was struck by this fellow who sort of came out of nowhere with this very unusual name and when he won out in Iowa, I think people sat up and took notice.

KURTZ: But isn’t it the job of journalists to be skeptical of the young phenom?

SCHIEFFER: Yeah, it is. It is. And I don’t know, maybe we were not skeptical enough. It was a campaign. Howie, my feeling is it is the role of the other — of the opponents to make the campaign. I think as journalists, basically, what we do is we watch the campaign and we report what the two sides are doing. I think it is the politicians who make the campaign.

KURTZ: But don’t journalists have an adversarial role to play when you have a Presidential candidate in the chair facing you…

SCHIEFFER: Sure.

KURTZ: — You want to be tough on that person?

SCHIEFFER: Well, I think you want to get to the truth. What you’re trying to do is find out who this person is and who he’s about. I don’t think that always has to be adversarial.

Stephanopolous Apologizes, Sort Of

ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos apologized on air Monday morning for . . . well, for something. He mentions two faux pas, contributing money – $75,000, though he doesn’t talk sums – to the Clinton Foundation and then not revealing it when he covered the issue. Here’s the apology: Over the last several years, I’ve… Continue Reading

White House Press Pool Forced to Fight Their Way in to See Obama!

White House reporters traveling with President Obama in Panama were forced to shove their way past a group of armed local Panamaniacs who were trying to prevent them from covering an event with Obama and Panama’s president, Juan Carlos Varela. From the pool report: Note at the top: local security officials attempted to cut off access as… Continue Reading

Obama Enlists His Friends in the Press to Help on Iran

President Obama today met with a mostly left-leaning group of journalists from a mostly left-leaning group of publications to make his case for his Iran nuclear appeasement deal. According to The Huffington Post, the meeting was off the record, meaning that as a condition of getting in, reporters were required not to report or discuss… Continue Reading