Monday, October 19, 2009

White House Boasts We "Control" News Media

If ever there was a time to be very afraid in the American newsroom, the time is now....

Here are some recent quotes from administration operatives about their relationship with the Fourth Estate. It's time journalists started taking them at their word.

"Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn't absolutely control," White House Communications Director Anita Dunn recently said.

"One of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters," said Dunn, referring to Plouffe, who was President Barcak Obama's chief campaign manager.

Continued Dunn: "Whether it was a David Plouffe video or an Obama speech, a huge part of our press strategy was focused on making the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to why the campaign was saying it, what the tactic was. … Making the press cover what we were saying."

Dunn was speaking at a Jan. 12, 2009, event focusing on Obama's media tactics and hosted by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development.

On Sunday, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN that President Obama does not want "the CNNs and the others in the world [to] basically be led in following Fox," urging other news organizations to stop reporting and instead join the administration's attempt to marginalize the FOX News channel.

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod went further by calling on media outlets to join the administration in declaring that Fox is "not a news organization."

"Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way," Axelrod counseled ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "We're not going to treat them that way."

While journalists cannot redeem themselves for their lack of professionalism in covering Obama's election by now taking an objective look at his administration, perhaps journalists will, out of a desire for self-preservation, actually start to take an objective look. Then again, I know better.

Labels: , ,