It seems the love affair the Obama administration currently enjoys with the mainstream media has recently hit some bumpy spots that might make Tiger Woods blush. Well, it’s not that bad. Yet.
Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post has an interesting piece today on how the White House has lashed out at CBS News for posting an online column from a right-leaning blogger leveling some serious allegations. The blogger, former Bush official Ben Domenech, states Obama would certainly “please” his base by naming the first openly gay justice to the highest court in the land. He’s referring to the sexual orientation of the current Solicitor General Elena Kagan, widely believed to be one of the president’s leading candidates to replace Justice Stevens on the Supreme Court.
When the blog was initially posted, CBS refused to take it down, prompting many at the Casa Blanca to bluntly question the journalistic standards of CBS.
This latest kerfufle is symptomatic of larger behind-the-scenes backbiting between the White House press shop and its press corps. Just last weekend, the Post sent out a system-wide email to its readers on how the president had given them all the slip and ducked out of town for a few hours. The horror! He went to watch his daughter’s soccer game, yet the inference was a major new presidential protocol was being established. The AP story the Post relayed led with the headline, “Obama breaches years of president/press tradition” and then later went on to state (oh so humbly!): “The White House press corps traditionally travels with the president anywhere he goes, inside and outside the country, to report on the president's activities for the benefit of informing the public and for historical record.”
Just this week, the Post further highlighted the growing tensions in a profile piece of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, complaining the administration’s top spokesman is notoriously difficult to get on the phone as deadlines approach and that the White House is turning more to social networking tools to make news. It ended by saying a group of news organizations will meet with Gibbs later this month to express what they feel is the administration’s “contempt for the press.”