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

Tag Archives: journalism

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 made substantial donations to dozens of charities, including the Clinton Global Foundation. Those donations were a matter of public record, but I should have made additional disclosures on air when we covered the Foundation, and I now believe directing personal donations to that foundation was a mistake. Even though I made them strictly to support work done to stop the spread of AIDS, help children and protect the environment in poor countries, I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. I apologize to all of you for failing to do that.

But look carefully at what he’s actually apologizing for. “Not going the extra mile.”

So, in life, we do our miles, and that is sufficient. And then we do our extra miles, just to be sure.

What Stephanopoulos is saying here is that he didn’t really do anything particularly wrong. He was just being a deeply charitable man. The donations, he notes, were a “mistake,” which is a little different than doing something “wrong.” But having done nothing wrong, he suggests, he should have “gone the extra mile” to make sure nobody would ever think he would do anything wrong.

Actually, not donating in the first place and then disclosing that he did are things he should have done “in the first mile,” not the extra one.

Any reporter knows you don’t donate to organizations with a partisan tilt. If I in my days as a mainstream reporter had given a substantial amount to the Clinton Foundation, done stories on it without spotlighting that I’d donated, and also defended the Foundation on the Jon Stewart Show, I’d have been marched across the newsroom to my editor’s office and fired. And nobody on the publication would have come to my defense.

If you can tell me there was nothing in the back of Stephanopoulos’s mind telling him that $75,000 would get him in good with the Clintons, then I’d like you to produce an MRI of the back of Stephanopoulus’s mind to prove it.

Here’s the apology.

And here he is going to bat for the Foundation.

Obama: Fox News Describes Poor as Leeches

President Obama in remarks Tuesday at Georgetown University:

I think that the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving, got traction . . .

If you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu. They will find folks who make me mad. I don’t know where they find them. They’re all like, “I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obamaphone.” And that becomes an entire narrative that gets worked up. Very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress, which is much more typical, who is raising a couple of kids and doing everything right but still can’t pay the bills.

And so if we’re going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we’re going to have to change how the body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues.

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 some of the pool continued to file into conference room where POTUS and President Varela were making short statements after bilateral meeting.

Your pooler was among those who had to try and force my way in along with other print/wires. Thanks to wrangler for helping to literally pull me in and get the rest of the pool in.

As pool arrived, at approx 11:24am local, POTUS was speaking‎ with Varela to his left. Secretary Kerry and others in American delegation seated across from Panamanian counterparts.

White House Dossier, which is safely ensconced in the Northern Virginia Washington DC suburbs, has obtained this exclusive footage of the confrontation.

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 with anyone whatever they heard.

That is, it’s an attempt by Obama to influence their reporting and get his ideas into their journalism without having his fingerprints on it.

Present at the meeting were The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib, The New York Times’ Carol Giacomo, The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins, The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim and The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, Eugene Robinson, Ruth Marcus and Greg Sargent.

Even for jaded Washington journalists, a plea from the president is not easy to resist. For those already sympathetic, like most of the ones present today, it will no doubt serve as a call to arms.

The Wall Street Journal has been harshly critical of Obama’s Iran dealings, so perhaps Seib was called in to try to get some of the edge taken off.

Obama has already sat for on-the-record interviews with lefty Tom Friedman of the New York Times and National Public Radio’s Steve Inskeep.

White House Officially Declared Laughingstock

Updated at 10:35 pm ET. The White House Thursday was officially declared a “Laughingstock” and will be demolished by the Department of Interior within a month, officials said today. The proximate cause of the declaration was the White House decision to take the presidency to a brand new low, inviting in three absurdly unqualified and… Continue Reading

Obama Gains a New Watchdog

Veteran journalist Joseph Curl is applying the talents he used to make the Drudge Report so exciting to a new venture, Joseph Curl’s Right Read, the latest entrant into the conservative news aggregator club. For several years, until the latter part of 2014, Curl helped Matt Drudge keep the Drudge Report at the top of the heap, working the… Continue Reading