The White House again spanked a local newspaper for “bias” by excluding a Boston Herald reporter from the pool of reporters covering Obama’s Boston visit. Â (It’s fairly common practice to put a hometown reporter in the pool.) Â You couldn’t ask for a better trained group of puppies… or kittens.
White House official Matt Lehrich admitted openly that the decision was made because of the Boston Herald’s decision to give a Mitt Romney story front page placement.
â€œI tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters,â€ White House spokesman Matt Lehrich wrote in response to a Herald request for full access to the presidential visit. Â â€œMy point about the op-ed was not that you ran it but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting US President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the Presidentâ€™s visits,â€ Lehrich wrote.
Today’s WH reporters don’t seem to know what reporters of the past knew all to well: Â access works both ways. Â Reporters (and editors) of the past knew that they could either withhold access to headlines or toughen their questions considerably if they suspected they were being manipulated by the WH press staff. Â Todays reporters obviously don’t have the stones to do that. Â They’ll go along to get along.
At least the Boston Herald isn’t afraid to ask Obama directly: “What are you afraid of, Mr. President?”
Just days earlier, the Pleasanton Weekly honored a WH request to change a story because it might make Michelle seem just a bit snooty. Â Earlier, Biden’s staff Â locked a pool reporter in a closet during a fundraiser. Â The San Francisco Chronicle responded firmly when the WH threatened to bar a reporter for shooting video of Obama-lovers protesting at an Obama fundraising event.
Grizzled old press veterans who covered JFK in the first ever televised press conferences dismiss today’s reporters as too timid.
Enough is enough. Â It’s time to show the White House the obverse side of the access coin.
It’s time to taunt WH press members until their spines stiffen just a bit.
A few of my own tweets to the WH press folk:
Access works both ways. Â When will you get tough on Obama? #softball
If you roll a little further, you’ll never be excluded from the pool. #softball
(I suggest the #softball hash tag for a little added fun)
Exit question: what’s the best twaunt you can author? Â Post the link to your best taunting tweet in the comments below so others can retweet you! Â (Register to comment and post public Dispatches here)
Here are some Â WH press Twitter ids for your taunting pleasure: