Free Markets, Free People

Is the press finally tiring of Obama?

If Dana Milbank is any example, they’re certainly not particularly happy with the way they were treated at the just ended nuclear summit in DC:

World leaders arriving in Washington for President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit must have felt for a moment that they had instead been transported to Soviet-era Moscow.

They entered a capital that had become a military encampment, with camo-wearing military police in Humvees and enough Army vehicles to make it look like a May Day parade on New York Avenue, where a bicyclist was killed Monday by a National Guard truck.

In the middle of it all was Obama — occupant of an office once informally known as “leader of the free world” — putting on a clinic for some of the world’s greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press.

The only part of the summit, other than a post-meeting news conference, that was visible to the public was Obama’s eight-minute opening statement, which ended with the words: “I’m going to ask that we take a few moments to allow the press to exit before our first session.”

Reporters for foreign outlets, admitted for the first time to the White House press pool, got the impression that the vaunted American freedoms are not all they’re cracked up to be.

Controlling the press through access and the amount of time they’re given with the subject of their interest is a pretty tried and true way less than free countries give the impression of having a free press when, in fact they don’t.  I’m not suggesting that’s the case here – yet – but this bit by Milbank suggests that an opinion of how this administration works with the press is forming and it doesn’t appear favorable.  That said, you also have to remember that the press thinks they should have unlimited access at all times, so there is certainly a natural friction there.  But there’s also an expected, or at least a traditional level of access that I’m getting the impression the press is not seeing and are just now beginning to grumble about.

After citing a number of foreign reporter’s comments about their surprise at the press restrictions, Milbank says:

Reporters, even those on the White House beat for two decades, said these were the most restricted such meetings they had ever seen. They complained to both the administration and White House Correspondents’ Association, which will discuss the matter Thursday with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

The restrictions have become a common practice for the Obama White House. When Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came to the White House a couple of weeks ago, reporters were kept away. Soon after that, Obama signed an executive order on abortion, again without any coverage.

Over the weekend, Obama broke with years of protocol and slipped off to a soccer game without the “protective” pool that is always in the vicinity of the president in case the unthinkable occurs. Obama joked about it later to Pakistan’s prime minister, saying reporters “were very upset.”

In “bilateral” meetings with foreign leaders, presidents usually take questions, or at least trade statements. But at most of Obama’s, there were only written “readouts.” Canada: “The president and the prime minister noted the enduring strength of our bilateral partnership.” India: “The two leaders vowed to continue to strengthen the robust relationship between the people of their countries.” Pakistan: “President Obama began by noting that he is very fond of Pakistan.”

Unlike Milbank and the rest of the press, I’m not particularly surprised by this.  It has been fairly obvious that this administration has viewed the press as a tool to be manipulated from the beginning – in fact, it was fairly clear during the campaign.  The vaunted “openness” of the campaign was a device used to paint a picture of a candidate who would conduct his presidency the same way.  The reality has been far from the promise.  Now the administration has no need – or it seems, desire – to have that promised openness and now the press, which was complicit in building the myth, is upset.  They don’t seem to have yet picked up on the fact that this administration doesn’t see it’s role as that of governance and service.  It’s there to rule.   And controlling the message and manipulating the press is how one rules.



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50 Responses to Is the press finally tiring of Obama?

  • The press though they’d get a better deal out of this administration. They licked the boot and thought they’d get a treat. Good dog!
    But then they didn’t get a treat! OH NO! Poor sad dog! Poor baby!
    OK, but so what? They may grumble a bit, but at the end of the day, they’re a good dog. They’ll go on licking the same old boot because the other boot smells wrong to them. Some of us might suggest that they act like men and drop the boot-licking entirely, but they can’t comprehend that.
    The bad news is that the media are what we rely on to inform citizens, so we’re pretty well screwed. The consolation prize is that they’re not actually dogs, they’re people who just think like dogs. So it’s OK to laugh at their brainless brute incomprehension when their master treats them with contempt, because unlike a mistreated pet, they deserve it.

  • The press isn’t quite accustomed to their new stooge bodysuits, tighter and goofier than the ones they wore back in the glory days of the campaign.

    Let me tell you something: I’m long past caring what these people think or don’t think about Obama.

    If they had done their job back when it was important, the creep wouldn’t have gotten his second foot on the national stage.

  • To be fair, Martin, had the press “done their job back when it was important,” over 4100 United States soldiers would not have died in Iraq, and thousands more would not have been permanently physically and/or mentally destroyed. But I guess that’s not what you were talking about when you complained of the press’ failures.

    • The media that shilled like a bunch of schoolgirls? That fell in love with Baghdad Bob? The media that claimed we’d need 50,000 body bags?
      Have you tried LSD for your BDS affliction?

    • My recollection was the press was pretty harsh on Bush in every dimension, the Iraq war in particular. Could you cite any examples where the press cheered Bush on into Iraq? I don’t seem to remember it that way at all.
      That said: how much affect (influence) should the press have?
      Given that sort of power, Do we get to elect reporters & chose what gets reported (and ensuing personal responsibility for the effects of what is written) Do we get to fire them if they are slothenly or irresponsible?
      I’m all for freedom of press, but when Uncle Wally (Cronkite) openly declared partisanship (and the journalistic community cheered) journalistic standards started downhill, and kept going downhill ever since.

    • Well that makes Obama’s new found attitude towards the press okay doesn’t it Remarkulus Twain?
      As usual – “they did it too dad” is the answer to any problem.   Also not unusual though, is in this case, they DIDN’T do it, but your narrative doesn’t work otherwise.  You conveniently ignore all the UN resolutions that were violated, repeatedly, by Iraq, and the fact that numerous credible foreign intelligence services and major governments ALSO believed the WMD  reports that you seem to think originated in the basement of the White House (since you’re either referring to the never existent claim that Saddam was linked to 9/11 or the active maskarovka Iraq engaged in to convince everyone, including themselves, they had modern WMD’s).

  • Awww, poor little lap doggie, kicked to the curb. Awww.
    If they had assumed, even a tiny fraction, of their Journalistic responsibility, 2008 would have turned out very differently.
    The rest of the country gets saddled with The Malfeasant Media’s bad choices. I’m way beyond pity for that dinosaur.

  • Is the press finally tiring of Obama?

    No.  That’s like asking a devout Catholic if he’s tired of the Pope.

    Even if MiniTru is occasionally exasperated with Imeme’s treatment of them (which, I must say, is nothing they don’t deserve), they can hardly say so.  Quite aside from having to admit that they were (willingly) duped by and helped perpetuate the narrative that he was a new, transparent, post-racial light worker, he and they are on the same lefty team.  Just as a football team might be irritated from time to time by the antics of a showboating, vain quarterback, they will continue to line up with him at game time because, ultimately, they win when he wins.

    • Yeah, while I think that the press is miffed over the way they are being treated, the real test would be if they are willing to be tougher with questions during interviews and press conferences.  Will they be more willing to hold Obama’s feet to the fire?  Gibbs?  Or will they grumble in articles like this one and then quietly acquiesce when they get some face time?

  • Press complaints about Bush’s secrecy and restrictions were a constant theme.   Hmmm, that didn’t bother you.  Rove’s attempts to manipulate the message were somehow OK.  And with dozens of heads of government attending a conference together in a city with a risk of a terror attack, this was too much security?
    Face it, every President in recent memory tries to manipulate the press.   The Bush White House was more closed than the current one.   Every administration wants to govern — remember Bush using signing statements to get around Congress, and the charges that the federal government did what they wanted?     Perhaps now you can empathize with how Democrats felt when Bush was in power.   It sucks when the other side has the Presidency.  You notice any faults of theirs, but when your side has it, then you make excuses.
    It’s like selective hyping of the polls.  When Rasmussen has Obama down by ten and strong disapproval 25% more than strong approval, then his support is collapsing.  But today, when Rasmussen has approval at 50%, the gap of strong dis/app at -8, and disapproval total of 49%, silence.
    That’s the problem when blogs become hyperpartisan.   Every modicum of objectivity is lost, it’s all about selling the narrative, attacking the other side both personally and with rhetoric (while puffing up ones’ own side).    It’s emotion over reason, the “fight” of politics over the problem solving nature of democracy.    Is that really what you want your blog to be about?

    • Why is the constant defense always, well I didn’t hear you whining when “x” happened?  Seriously, WTFC?
      Are you seriously arguing that the person stating that this behavior is a problem now is unjustified in saying it is a problem b/c they didn’t point out the problem before?  Really?  That argument is akin to saying that the someone in an abusive relationship should just shut up and take it b/c they didn’t speak up during a previous relationship that was also abusive.
      Seriously, STFU.

      • Believe me, I understand the STFU sentiment here, but Erb must speak, often and at length. Pay attention to what he says and how he says it. You’re seeing a KGB wet dream become flesh, the self-replicating academic stooge, singing for his supper like his life depended on it. “Lies are inexhaustible.”

        • Oh, I understand.  This particular argument I find completely… evil.  It is the first line of defense since Jan ’09.  Someone else’s sins (and whether they got away with it or not) do not excuse or forgive your own.

      • I’m a realist.  This is how all Presidents operate.  It goes with the territory.  One can complain about it, but it’s better to complain when both sides do it.   I never really criticized Bush for these things because I expected Bush and Rove to operate as they do.   I have criticized both parties for this, including my own blog entry ‘The Selling of the President‘ which was about Obama being sold like a market product.    Treat both sides the same way, is all I’m saying.  It’s not abusive, though, I’m not sure what you are talking about there.

        • Without a passing acquaintance with reality, Scott, how do you make yourself for a realist?

          Lately, your ramblings make you more a dingbat. Are you a dingbatist?

        • Except that you have missed the boat once again, This thread is not about What administrations do via the press, it is about the Press, and what they did and did not do.
          Now There is no way you can say that the press was anything but hostile to Bush, and yes, he brought some of that on himself, and deserved scrutiny. I am not a big Bush supporter.
          But they certainly have been just the opposite, so far for Obama. They are so far in the tank for him that it is ridiculous.
          However, they will eventually turn on him, they always do, and it will be a horrible thing to behold.

          • But the left complains about how the press is in the pocket of Republicans, and has been unfair to Obama (and in fact the mirror image of the tea party movement, the 25% of those on the more extreme left, think Obama is a centrist who is too willing to work with Republicans).  Perhaps it’s just a case that you perceive Bush being treated worse than Obama (you’re forgetting Bush’s first term if you think that), I’ve noticed each side is convinced the media opposes them and serves the other side.   It’s a convenient belief for people of all political persuasions.

    • Another “they did it too dad” post from that wickedly intelligent guy, Prefesser Scott Erb.
      Yo,  they weren’t supposed to use the Bush Administration as their foundation for a standard when dealing with the press and practicing openness and accountability.  Yet is seems fine with you that they do.   You’re such a  hypocrite.
      From Erb:
      “When Rasmussen has Obama down by ten and strong disapproval 25% more than strong approval, then his support is collapsing.  But today, when Rasmussen has approval at 50%, the gap of strong dis/app at -8, and disapproval total of 49%, silence.
      From Rasmussen:
      “Overall, 50% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. Forty-nine percent (49%) disapprove. Today is the first time the President’s Total Approval has reached the 50% mark in nearly two months.”
      Ah, I see, you consider this meager (and I’ll bet temporary, but as you like to say “time will tell” and “I’m optimistic”)  improvement cause for the primaries on the blog to what, do an entire column on a blip up or down in an ongoing poll?  You can read the pretty picture on the chart, right?  That RED line is STRONGLY DISAPPROVE not ‘somewhat’ disapprove.  See the word “somewhat” in that sentence?  Not “approval”, “somewhat approve”.  If they did a post on it, it would probably be a post on statistical anomalies.
      Some other shoe will drop shortly and his numbers will start down again because he’s a clueless bungler.

      • Well, you may think he’s a ‘clueless bungler,’ but how do your accomplishments stack up to his?
        His numbers will fluctuate, especially in tracking polls.  But silly name calling and over the top rhetoric probably helps him more than hurts him — it makes his opponents look like rabid ideologues.   I also note how Obama easily defeats all GOP challengers in a poll asking voters to think about 2012.
        However, I think Obama’s biggest political challenge lies ahead – to cut the deficit.  I’m not sure he’s up to it, and he will need to get GOP support on this.  Given demography, he also needs to get immigration reform passed — we have to have more workers once the next growth cycle starts to pay for all the retiring boomers.   He can’t do that without finding a way to work with the GOP.

        • My accomplishments?  I managed to avoid going to a racist church for, well, my whole life, so I have him beat hands down there now don’t I.  Is that an accomplishment, to not hang around with racists?   And, does that really have anything to do with my opinion that he’s a bozo as President?  I know I’m not qualified to be President, pity he didn’t see the same thing.  That makes me smarter than him in that regard doesn’t it.
          Deficit – oh, NOW he needs the Republicans?  What, to give him cover for his spending later?  To get the deficit down he has to eliminate or clean up extent programs, NOT create entirely new entitlements.   The Republicans don’t have the guts for it right now either.
          Immigration reform? – you mean, close the borders?  Export those here illegally?  Oh, right in your mind, it’s easier, and better to give 12 million new VOTERS citizenship than to get them to leave and come back in and do it properly.   That helps the party that ‘reformed’ immigration doesn’t it.  Ya know, with an unemployment rate in actual excess of 15% I don’t think we need MORE people.  But you want to continue the free give aways, so in your mind we have to keep importing as many people as possible on the theory that the Ponzi  gravy train (and the jobs) will magically appear AFTER we’ve imported them.
          If I were the GOP I’d tell him to sit on it and rotate until he stops acting like a socialist drone, except the GOP is a fair sized collection of socialist drones in training, which is why I’m NOT the GOP.
          Since you’re fond of polls right now, wanna talk about this one?

          Or would that be another one that’s on the chosen to ignore list today?

        • “Well, you may think he’s a ‘clueless bungler,’ but how do your accomplishments stack up to his?”

          Anyone who has had a real job and put two true statements together in a row has accomplished more than Obama. Obama is a campus phenomenon, Scott. He’s from the unrealist of unrealities, with a mob behind him, and a PR team projecting him up on walls like a social realist painting. His accomplishment is a sonorous voice and a machine to package it.

      • And, more to the point, you avoided my points about the polls, and how it’s a piss poor excuse to say he’s just doing what Bush did, (for which you clearly have no defense….).  AND tried to make it about me vs the President and which one of us has ‘accomplished more”.  Will you be telling me your dad can beat up my dad next?
        Does it bother you I think he’s a bungler?  That’s MY opinion, not a fact, I recognize that.  But ya know, I didn’t apply for the job, and HE did, and he shouldn’t have, and brother, based on what I’ve seen so far, that is a fact.

        • I was just noting that calling him a “clueless bungler” is over the top, given what he’s accomplished in life.     I note that all Presidents try to manipulate the press, Bush did that, and that indignation about Obama is misplaced — where was the indignation when Bush did it?  Since I expect Presidents to do this, it seems to me a non-story.  Like I said, I was even noting that Obama was a marketed product before the election.

    • “Press complaints about Bush’s secrecy and restrictions were a constant theme.”

      Once again, you can’t stay away from the “But they did it too Dad” defense.  Just like your defence of ObamaCare – “Well, all of the other industrial nations do it“.  Like I said at the time, watch out when you chastise your own children for that defense.

      And speaking of polls, what happened to your Messiah?  Just a couple of days agao you were crowing about how the polls had bounced in favor of ObamaCare and the your Messiah was on the rise.  What happend there, Erb?  Obama is now shooting blanks well below 50% and digging down toward the 40 mark.

      “That’s the problem when blogs become hyperpartisan.”

      LOL!  You, the poster child of Democratic partisanship, have the gall to chastise others for what you are infamous for doing?  Remember the Biblical reference to “Remove the beam from your own eye before you speak of the splinter in anothers.”

    • Press complaints about Bush’s secrecy and restrictions were a constant theme.   Hmmm, that didn’t bother you.

      I think you’re missing the point, Scott.  Obama promised a very different presidency than that of Bush, and against their better judgment, the media seemed to buy into it.  Now they are beginning to realize that Obama is no different than his predecessors, and in this case some of them feel he has surpassed them (and not in a good way).  This is not “blogger ignores Bush misdeeds, complains about Obama.”  This is “press begins to realize that Obama might be even worse than Bush.”  You seem to think that the story here is Bruce’s reaction to the way Obama treats the media, but that’s a mistaken view.  The story here is the media awakening to the fact that Obama isn’t treating them any better than Bush did, and quite possibly worse.

      • The media isn’t so naive that they thought the Obama White House would be fundamentally different than past ones.   The media isn’t “awakening,” they were complaining about access and restrictions even before November 2008.   They may complain — like they did when Bush was President — but they weren’t expecting major change.  It’s the myth of the right that the left or the media saw Obama as some kind of person who would totally change how the Presidency operates.   The idea of Obama as “messiah” is a right wing mantra, most on the left just see him as a smart, thoughtful President who may be able to solve problems that have festered for too long — and which got worse between 2000 and 2008.

        • uhmm yes they were indeed that naive, You know why? because for the most part they are stupid.
          Yes, I went there. They certainly say some of the stupidest things. It would be nice to have a science reporter who actually had a physical sciences degree, a finance reporter who once worked in a financial institution or had an economics degree, or a War corespondent who was once in the military.
          Now all of the major news organizations actually have such individuals, but you don’t ever see or hear them.  Instead you get nitwits and light weights like David Gregory and Nora O’Donnell.

    • Hey, perfesser – here’s a Rasmussen poll you aren’t talking about here today.   What do I conclude from this?    Should  I guess you notice any faults of theirs, but when your side has it, then you make excuses.  Should I think  it’s like selective hyping of the polls?  Should I imply you’ve lost objectivity and it’s all about selling your narrative while puffing up your own side (and your own blog and your own resume and your on-line course )? Obama vs Ron Paul for President.
      Or should I think you didn’t see the poll, or you didn’t care about the poll today?  Hmmmm, decisions, decisions….

      • Your link doesn’t work.   I posted my own blog entry about Presidential approval polls awhile back, putting them in historic context.  I don’t hype them when they’re good or bad.   And I plug myself in part because you show so openly that it bugs you 😉

        • Obama Vs Ron Paul – let’s see then…..that should work.   And actually I think you plugging yourself is…well…foolish, it doesn’t bother me much though.

        • Oh look!  A yellowbellied sap sucker!  What WERE we talking about?   Ron Paul being President?  No, I don’t think so.  I think we were talking about the fact that even RON PAUL in a poll is up there with Obama.  I guess they could have done the poll to see if “Joe the plumber” would match up against him, but….
          So the issue isn’t whether or not Ron Paul will be the GOP candidate, my slight of handish friend, the issue is that Obama only polls slightly better (and very slightly at that) than Ron Paul does.    This is not a good sign, except to you, because you like to pretend when someone tells you your house is on fire that now you won’t have to worry about cooking the marshmallows for the smores.

    • Scott, this completely misses the point.  Certainly every administration, Democratic or Republican, seeks to control messaging.  (See Clinton, Bill for a wide, wide range of examples.)  But as that one quote pointed out, reporters who have been on the White House beat for two decades haven’t seen such a restrictive approach to the media.  Furthermore, McQ’s wider point is that it’s pretty hard to get terribly worked up over the MSM’s reaction to being snubbed after months and months of Obama worship.  As Steven den Beste pointed out, the mainstream media squandered credibility in the ’08 election cycle that they’ll never recapture.

  • As Reynolds says….”The rubes self-identify”

  • I’m guessing the idea that the press would, or even could, turn on Obama, after years of routine gurgling fellation, has gotten inside Erb’s panties like a tropical rainforest cockroach. Most worrisome for the air-loafer academic world.

  • “It’s the myth of the right that the left or the media saw Obama as some kind of person who would totally change how the Presidency operates. ”
    That you could write this with anything resembling a straight face boggles the mind. This is opposite of how the left (including the media) perceived Obama. He was a cipher and thus a vessel into which to pour the (deluded) hopes and dreams (of my father) of the person doing the observing. Obama is indeed a vessel, mostly of bad politics and poor policy. He is in fact a classic Chicago hack pol, polished up Ivy League style, with the (obligatory) side course of racial resentment, courtesy the (now safely under the bus) Rev. Wright.

    • Some on the left do that, just like some on the right use imagination to see Obama as, well, how you described him.  Those of us more objective realize he’s just another politician — marketed well, but acting as politicians in that role act.  I do think he’s intelligent and pragmatic, and expect he’ll have a successful Presidency.  The left already is mad that he’s too centrist.   Given the economy, he’s maintaining his popularity pretty well.   I think a lot of politicians, including Reagan and Bush the Younger are far different than how they are perceived by those who treat them like a “vessel” (left and right).

  • Hmmmm.  Off day.  Perhaps the rich man has squeezed through the eye of a needle.  I read all of Professor Erb’s comments and did not disagree with even one.  Hmmmmm.
    Well, yes, the claim that President Obama’s had a stretch of foreign policy “successes” is over the top IMHO, but still fair comment.  By the way, Professor, it’s “spate” not “spat”.  A spat is what you have with other commenters here from time to time.  You probably just accidentally dropped the “e”.
    Oh, and it was realistic of you to describe your comments on this blog thusly:
    “…when blogs become hyperpartisan.   Every modicum of objectivity is lost, it’s all about selling the [Liberal] narrative, attacking the other side both personally and with rhetoric (while puffing up ones’ own side).    It’s emotion over reason, the “fight” of politics over … problem solving …”
    So, all in all, you’ve had a good day.

  • Bruce,
    Great post. I think that this new media trend is partly a reflection of the public in general realizing Obama is not who they thought he was, and the public’s opinion is partly a reflection of the media realizing the same thing. They play off of and influence each other. Bottom line: Everyone is seeing the real Obama and the mess he and Democrats are making. I miss the real America. Lets keep our heads up and make a real change in November! Keep up the great work!

  • For a guy who has been to the White House, he certainly doesn’t sound like Obama …

    “The success in bailing out the system on the previous occasion led to a superbubble, except that in 2008 we used the same methods,” he [George Soros] told a meeting hosted by The Economist at the City of London’s modern and impressive Haberdashers’ Hall. “
    Unless we learn the lessons, that markets are inherently unstable and that stability needs to the objective of public policy, we are facing a yet larger bubble. “
    We have added to the leverage by replacing private credit with sovereign credit and increasing national debt by a significant amount.

    Funny, this is pretty much the same message that the Tea Partiers have been sending.