We in the conservative media have spent a great deal of time over the past 6 years criticizing the Obama comms shop for freezing the media out of its most controversial decisions. Conservatives are used to a biased press pool, and for the most part, this group hasn’t disappointed in that regard, even when they haven’t had all the information they needed to write a story.
Apparently, though, the lack of information flowing from the White House to the press pool has slowed to a trickle—and the corps is ready to fight back.
The White House Correspondents Association is preparing a list of
demands promises they hope the White House will commit to. The corps has been working on the list for over a year, but a recent snub on the part of the President’s team has kicked the conversation about press access into high gear.
The Washington Examiner explains what happened:
On Thursday, the pool of reporters following President Obama to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was meeting with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were broken up and only photographers were allowed in to see the meeting.
Members of the Association complained to the White House that print reporters were not allowed into the meeting to write details about it. It was not, however, a formal complaint, which requites a vote by the Association board.
The White House should take note of the fact that its most faithful collective lieutenant is turning on a once mutually-beneficial relationship:
Although the Salt Lake City incident appears to be the immediate cause, Obama has long had a troubled relationship with the White House press corps. Reporters have openly complained about the White House’s lack of transparency, with some even claiming to have been on the receiving end of “profanity-laced tirades” from White House officials.
A White House Correspondents’ Association seminar last year basically turned into a White House bash-fest, with some going as far as to call it “more dangerous” to press freedom than any other administration.
Last year, the Washington Post published a comprehensive report on specific instances of the White House not just suppressing, but targeting journalists:
At some point, a compendium of condemnations against the Obama administration’s record of media transparency (actually, opacity) must be assembled. Notable quotations in this vein come from former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, who said, “It is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering”; New York Times reporter James Risen, who said, “I think Obama hates the press”; and CBS News’s Bob Schieffer, who said, “This administration exercises more control than George W. Bush’s did, and his before that.”
USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page has added a sharper edge to this set of knives. Speaking Saturday at a White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) seminar, Page called the current White House not only “more restrictive” but also “more dangerous” to the press than any other in history, a clear reference to the Obama administration’s leak investigations and its naming of Fox News’s James Rosen as a possible “co-conspirator” in a violation of the Espionage Act.
The press corps may be tardy to the outrage party, but at this point, any willingness of the mainstream media to call the White House on the carpet should be encouraged.
Maybe celebrated—we’ll see how this goes.DONATE
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