Free Markets, Free People

Transparency? Not this White House

Ben Smith at Politico reports that Police chased off reporters yesterday during a protest of DADT by gay service members, in uniform who chained themselve to the fence.  As you might expect, the press was not at all happy:

Police chased reporters away from the White House and closed Lafayette Park today in response to a gay rights protest in which several service members in full uniform handcuffed themselves to the White House gate to protest “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

People who have covered the White House for years tell me that’s an extremely unusual thing to do in an area that regularly features protests.

Smith has a video up showing this happening. Some might think that Smith is making too much of a isolated incident, but apparently there is some real discontent within the White House press corps specificially and the Washington media in general.  This is just another incident that further deepens that discontent.

Jamie Dupree points out that every White House eventually comes into conflict with the WH press corps and the press in general – there a natural friction there.  The press wants unlimited access and the WH simply can’t grant that.  However, Ed Chen, the head of the White House Correspondent’s Association says this particular White House seems even worse than others:

Chen’s quote to Politico is very interesting, saying that in his over 10 years at the White House, “rarely have I sensed such a level of anger, which is wide and deep, among members over White House practices and attitude toward the press.”

In other words, reporters feel like this administration is not being very open on a number of fronts.

At issue is how the Obama White House has limited press access to events, using its own photographer for example to take pictures, and not allowing photo opportunities and/or questions for Presidential meetings with other world leaders.

Now you may say, “big deal, so the press is whining”.  And I’m not one to normally stick up for the press.  But they do have a job to perform. And as all of us know, especially when the news might be damaging to political opponents, Democrats love to wave “the people’s right to know” around like a flag.

However, the thing to be reminded of here is the promise – the most transparant administration ever (right up there with the Pelosi promise of “the most ethical Congress ever”). This strong-arming of the press to keep them away from covering some “dissenters” is just another in a long line of examples of what you get when you buy a pig in a poke and don’t do the due dilligence of examining the character and background of the person making all the grand promises.

The discovery process – which the very same press should have been an intimate part of prior to Obama’s election – is now yielding much less than was hoped for (yes, I use the word “hope” in place of “expected” because expectation is usually based in actions of the past). Perhaps that’s why Obama’s popularity polls continue to fall.

Meanwhile the press is reaping what it helped sow.



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11 Responses to Transparency? Not this White House

  • Remember back when anything less than total cooperation between the WH andthe press was a serious threat to liberty?

    • Heh … great link, Terry.

    • Nice find on that article.
      The rocky nature of the relationship between Bush, his team, and the press started even before he was elected.  The Bush team may have played a hide and seek game with facts, but in the context of the US fighting three wars (Iraq, Afghanistan and al Qaeda) the Bush administration shenanigans seem…underwhelming.  Bush, himself, suffered from a lack of weight during public appearances involving the press, e.g.  interviews and press gaggles, which increased the adversarial slant of the reporting.  But even Bush didn’t turn out the press complete, he let Bob Woodward, of all people, loose amongst his team.
      The Obama team was expected to not have the same issues as the Bush team.  I mean, he was elected because he was not Bush.  Even the press fell for that.  So, it’s ironic that Obama may be even worse that Bush when dealing with the press.   Obama does well with set speeches; however, it looks like he gets lost when having to think on his feet.  But the Obama team’s turn towards secrecy and deception makes no sense at all.   Protecting the President from making an ass of himself in public, that’s okay.   Locking the press out completely, that’s just dangerous and stupid.

  • Awwww, the cheerleader squad wasn’t invited?   How rude.    Bout time they started waking up to the fact that Mr. Most Likely to Deceive isn’t a nice person unless he needs you for something.

  • My heart bleeds for the WHPC.  Poor, poor widdle wambs. 

    / sarc

    That pack of lazy, partisan f*ckers did everything they could to get Imeme into the position he’s in.  They more than just about anybody else in the country should have looked into Imeme’s past, his associations, his speeches, his record, his CHARACTER, and see AND REPORTED TO THE REST OF US that he’s an arrogant, shallow, bullying, ignorant partisan thug, an acolyte of Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright and an honor graduate of the corrupt Chicago political machine.  Instead, they alternately painted George Bush as the absolute worst man in the world and Imeme as a virtual saint, a post-partisan, post-racial, inclusive, honest, open, lovable, good-to-his-mother demigod who would lead our country – AND THE WORLD – to a new age of peace and prosperity.

    And now they’re whining that they fooled themselves and he’s treating them exactly as one would expect him to treat anybody he doesn’t have to toady to?  Again, my heart absolutely bleeds for them.

    The proof will be in the pudding.  When we start seeing a lot more critical pieces about Imeme and his destructive, stupid policies and a lot less fawning coverage (including photos of him superimposed on a cross, or with a halo around him), then I’ll believe that MiniTru has learned its lesson.  Until then, this is nothing more than a woman whining about her abusive husband who she refuses to leave.

  • “However, Ed Chen, the head of the White House Correspondent’s Association says this particular White House seems even worse than others”

    It is to laugh.

  • It’ll be interesting to see how hard the media will push the Obama administration on this issue.  As you said, every President battles the media over access, and the Bush administration took its lumps.  I think that the push-back will be harder than expected, because I believe that for the most part the media takes its freedom to report very seriously.  I do expect to see some cheerleaders who will defend the administration on this issue (Chris Matthews’ name comes to mind immediately), but I also expect that the outcry will get louder as time goes on.
    The press may begin to resent being taken for granted after giving Obama so much support, and Obama may feel irritated that the press won’t allow him to treat them however he wishes.  The administration tried taking on Fox News (a safe target) and it went badly for them.  Taking on the mainstream press may go well at first and then go much, much worse in the end.

  • What  did  you expect from Hack out of  Chicago,  his  WHITW house has  as much Transparency as the Hiring process for the  Chicago Park District or department of Sewer and Water in Chicago

  • Guess what? If you fawn over a politician for long enough, he will take you for granted and treat you like dirt.
    The press has a very simple way to get the White House to be more friendly: write critical stories instead of slobbering press releases.