Wemple: Don't believe Jodi Kantor's claim that she didn't want access to Obamas for book

The Washington Post

Erik Wemple doesn't buy Jodi Kantor's claim that she didn't mind not having access to the Obamas for her upcoming book. The New York Times correspondent told Chicago magazine, "The story I wanted to write was never going to come from the Obamas’ lips. There’s so much they can’t say," adding that she wouldn't trade her extensive interviews with aides for a quick one with the president. Wemple writes:

Only the most sophisticated GPS devices can track that logic. First Kantor says she didn’t need an interview with the first couple. Then sets up a false choice between an interview with the president and old-fashioned legwork with White House sources; no such either-or predicament ever faced the author, according to knowledgeable sources. Then Kantor constructs a notion that the president can’t speak out.

Wemple's take is that Kantor knew she had to deliver the Obamas and failed. Politico's Mike Allen says an unnamed White House source told him via email, "[S]he begged for an interview up to the day the book went to the printer." The White House is using the lack of access to discredit some of Kantor's assertions in the book.

  • Steve Myers

    Steve Myers was the managing editor of Poynter.org until August 2012, when he became the deputy managing editor and senior staff writer for The Lens, a nonprofit investigative news site in New Orleans.


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