The White House press corps has revolted against the Obama administration and it’s about time.
From MediaBistro’s FishbowlDC:
WHCA Throws Photos in Administration’s Face
A small thing, but a loud gesture. The White House Correspondents’ Association is stripping all official White House photographs from the WHCA website in support of news photographers getting shut out by this administration. They put the news in a letter to all their members this morning from President Steve Thomma of McClatchy. He wrote, “This symbolic gesture is a statement of our belief that journalists should be allowed to cover the president as often as possible and that journalists should not be excluded when the White House is covering the president with its own photographers or video crews.”
This has been a persistent problem throughout Barack Obama’s presidency: An increasing number of events that used to be open to the press have been closed, with the administration substituting its version of events for actual coverage.
ABC News pointed this out two years ago:
As the 2012 presidential campaign kicks into gear, President Obama’s White House media operation is demonstrating an unprecedented ability to broadcast its message through social media and the Internet, at times doing an end-run around the traditional press.
The White House Press Office now not only produces a website, blog, YouTube channel, Flickr photo stream, and Facebook and Twitter profiles, but also a mix of daily video programming, including live coverage of the president’s appearances and news-like shows that highlight his accomplishments.
“Advise the Adviser: Your Direct Line to the White House,” the administration’s latest online program launched last week, encourages viewers to offer “advice, opinions and feedback on important issues” and promises a response from a senior administration official in return.
“We’re striving to not just have a passive website where people can read about what’s happening but create a method of interaction and feedback,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
(Josh Earnest? Really?)
Actually, what they’re striving to do is replace the news media as a source of information for Americans.
One small example: “West Wing Week [is] a magazine-style show featuring the president behind the scenes, and other live-streaming events . . . intended to more directly disseminate the administration’s message.”
West Wing Week from April, 2010 (see 1:45):
That’s not a big deal, but other stuff is.
So let’s hope the White House press corps continues to press the Obama administration on this issue.
P.S. If George W. Bush had adopted this practice, we would have been at DEFCON 2 years ago.