February 19, 2013

Obama's White House: Treating the media like puppets

Jim Venderhei & Mike Allen, Politico - Conservatives assume a cozy relationship between this White House and the reporters who cover it. Wrong. Many reporters find Obama himself strangely fearful of talking with them and often aloof and cocky when he does. They find his staff needlessly stingy with information and thin-skinned about any tough coverage. He gets more-favorable-than-not coverage because many staffers are fearful of talking to reporters, even anonymously, and some reporters inevitably worry access or the chance of a presidential interview will decrease if they get in the face of this White House.

Obama himself sees little upside to wide-ranging interviews with the beat reporters for the big newspapers — hence, the stiffing of even The New York Times since 2010. The president’s staff often finds Washington reporters whiny, needy and too enamored with trivial matters or their own self-importance.

So the White House has escalated the use of several media manipulation techniques:

The super-safe, softball interview is an Obama specialty...

There’s the classic weekend document dump to avoid negative coverage. By our count, the White House has done this nearly two dozen times...

There is the iron-fisted control of access to White House information and officials....

They are also masters of scrutiny avoidance....

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