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Politico: The MSM Can’t Resist Obama’s Power

From the Politico:

Obama, the puppet master

By JIM VANDEHEI and MIKE ALLEN | February 18, 2013

President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.

Not for the reason that conservatives suspect: namely, that a liberal press willingly and eagerly allows itself to get manipulated. Instead, the mastery mostly flows from a White House that has taken old tricks for shaping coverage (staged leaks, friendly interviews) and put them on steroids using new ones (social media, content creation, precision targeting).

The sad truth is the media are only too happy to have Obama’s hand up their butts.

And it’s an equal opportunity strategy: Media across the ideological spectrum are left scrambling for access.

Really? Is that why Obama never calls on anyone from Fox News in his incredibly rare press conferences? Is that why he regularly shuts Fox News off from his conference calls?

Is that why he regularly calls Fox News out by name, for their irrational opposition to him? Is that why he has never had anything to do with conservative talk radio or the conservative blogosphere?

The results are transformational. With more technology, and fewer resources at many media companies, the balance of power between the White House and press has tipped unmistakably toward the government.

Never fear. The ‘balance of power’ will miraculously shift back to the media, once a Republican is President again.

This is an arguably dangerous development, and one that the Obama White House — fluent in digital media and no fan of the mainstream press — has exploited cleverly and ruthlessly…

The media worked like coolies to get him elected and re-elected. What’s not to like?

The president has shut down interviews with many of the White House reporters who know the most and ask the toughest questions. Instead, he spends way more time talking directly to voters via friendly shows and media personalities. Why bother with The New York Times beat reporter when Obama can go on “The View”?

This has nothing to do with Obama’s distain for the New York Times. He knows he already has The Times and their readers. This is because Obama wants the low information voters who aren’t as constantly bombarded with his propaganda as the New York Times’ readers are.

At the same time, this White House has greatly curtailed impromptu moments where reporters can ask tough questions after a staged event — or snap a picture of the president that was not shot by government-paid photographers.

Remember the grief Reagan got for not taking questions when getting on Marine One? When has Obama ever gotten any grief for doing far worse to avoid questions?

The frustrated Obama press corps neared rebellion this past holiday weekend when reporters and photographers were not even allowed onto the Floridian National Golf Club, where Obama was golfing. That breached the tradition of the pool “holding” in the clubhouse and often covering — and even questioning — the president on the first and last holes.

Obama boasted Thursday during a Google+ Hangout from the White House: “This is the most transparent administration in history.” The people who cover him day to day see it very differently…

But notice that they are only mad they are missing out on beauty shots and human interest stories that they could use to further burnish their idol. They aren’t angry because Obama has stonewalled them on ‘Fast & Furious’ or Benghazi, for instance.

They are mad because they didn’t get any glamour shots of him with Tiger Woods. That’s all they want from ‘transparency.’

By no means does Obama escape tough scrutiny or altogether avoid improvisational moments. And by no means is Obama unique in wanting to control his public image and message — every president pushes this to the outer limits. His 2012 opponent, Mitt Romney, was equally adept at substance-free encounters with reporters…

Sure he was. Which is why he got such positive coverage from our one party media.

But something is different with this White House. Obama’s aides are better at using technology and exploiting the president’s “brand.” They are more disciplined about cracking down on staff that leak, or reporters who write things they don’t like. And they are obsessed with taking advantage of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and every other social media forums, not just for campaigns, but governing.

They think posting snarky comments on Twitter is governing.

“They use every technique anyone has ever thought of, and some no one ever had,” New York Times White House reporter Peter Baker told us. “They can be very responsive and very helpful at pulling back the curtain at times while keeping you at bay at others. And they’re not at all shy about making clear when they don’t like your stories, which is quite often.”

Likewise, the New York Times is not shy about running their ‘leaks’ when they think they will help Obama to get re-elected. Or just to get his way.

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.

You see? Obama "gets more-favorable-than-not coverage" because the news media are afraid they will lost access. And they won’t be able to get shots of him playing golf with Tiger Woods.

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.

More nonsense. Obama doesn’t do interviews with any adult newspapers for the same reason he never speaks to adults at his campaign appearances. People who read the newspapers are not his target audience.

All the White House really worries about these days is convincing the low information voters that Obama is looking out for them. They know the mainstream media will tell their readers and viewers that without any hand-holding from Obama.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 19th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Politico: The MSM Can’t Resist Obama’s Power”

  1. P. Aaron says:

    Today’s journalism sure looks a lot like being on unemployment.

  2. Chrispbass says:


    HOW HE DO IT?!

  3. GetBackJack says:

    Cardinal Rule in modern national journalism

    “Don’t Swallow”

  4. captstubby says:

    see what happens when they take off the tin foil hats.

  5. USSFreedom says:

    Most MSM rags and most alphabet channel personnel are all Hollywood wannabes clamouring to rub shoulders with sport stars, rap creeps, hip-hoppers, big time politicos, race hustlers, and anyone with name recognition while trying to be impressively cool with clicking cameras, star struck on the spot reporters that fawn and gush while the elite dictate what can be reported and when.
    Truth ignored and happy to run cover for an administration for access to the inner circle for a brief moment.
    Twits twittering, meet me on face book and the look- a- me, I was standing next to him, her, them and I petted the dog, back to you in studio B for an update on the next historic, unprecedented bit of miss direction we can muster to keep your attention while the country is falling apart from within. “Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea” no longer addressed by types the likes of Edward R. Morrow, but, you can find them online with no holds barred reporting. Until they get too close to the truth that will bring down the curtain. Breitbart anyone.?

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