White House press complain about access to president

Politico | Huffington Post
President Obama’s staff “often finds Washington reporters whiny, needy and too enamored with trivial matters or their own self-importance,” Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen write in Politico. So they limit the president’s availability to the White House press corps, hand out photos and do document dumps on Friday afternoons. “Media across the ideological spectrum are left scrambling for access,” VandeHei and Allen write.

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.

Things came to a head when the press corps was shut out of President Obama’s golf game with Tiger Woods, VandeHei and Allen report, when “reporters and photographers were not even allowed onto the Floridian National GolfClub, 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.

Leaving aside the thought of how things might go for a Politico reporter who told her bosses she missed a story because of the president’s media mastery — how useful is the access whose lack VandeHei and Allen are bemoaning? “All we’re asking for is a brief exception, quick access, a quick photo-op on the 18th green,” Fox News correspondent and White House Correspondents Association President Ed Henry told Politico’s Dylan Byers after the star-crossed golf trip.

That quote contains multitudes: As VandeHei and Allen ding the White House for offering only skimpy access, the head of the WHCA pines for a photo op.

Obama offered the press a brief off-the-record convo on Air Force One Monday, Michael Calderone reports. Washington Post reporter Scott Wilson told him “that Obama ‘did not come back with a message in mind.’”

“He didn’t come back because he had to tell us something,” Wilson said. “He came back to hang out.”

On Twitter, Gawker Editor John Cook shows how different things were during the Bush years:








Previously: Is Obama the ‘least newspaper-friendly president in a generation’?

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  • pvbella

    The White House so-called press has been copying and pasting everything they were given. Now, they are complaining they cannot do their jobs? They have not done their jobs since day one of this administration. Maybe they should change their name to the White House Copy and Paste Corps.

  • NateBowman

    “Things came to a head when the press corps was shut out of President Obama’s golf game with Tiger Woods…”

    The press may bemoan their lack access to the president, but what do you expect when you give up on doing journalism to gain access in the first place?

    Something that seems to not have been considered important to most of these stenographers:

    “In parallel universes, President Obama spent his Sunday playing golf at an exclusive Florida gated community while 50,000 Americans poured into Washington DC, calling on the absent president to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline and stand up to Big Oil.

    “Obama and Tiger Woods were joined on the golf course by a very wealthy fellow named Jim Crane. We all know who Tiger Woods is, but who is Jim Crane? The Texas businessman who hosted the president at his exclusive golf resort is owner of the major league baseball team Houston Astros. But Crane is also mucked up with the very “Big Oil” the activists were railing against. His extensive business deals include a partnership in Western Gas Holdings, a company engaged in gathering, processing, compressing and transporting natural gas and crude oil for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, one of the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas exploration and production companies.”


  • canardnoir

    Say What? “White House press complain about access to president”

    More likely, they just wanted to pickup on a few tips about the ladies from Tiger.