Washington, D.C. has more leaks than a Viking River Cruise with a hull fashioned out of Swiss cheese. To his chagrin, our 45th President Donald J. Trump discovered that…starkly and early-on. But every U.S. President in the past century came to realize—some sooner, some later—that weasels within the Executive Branch or within our permanent Washington “establishment” exist for little more than to leak secrets to favorable media.
The Bay of Pigs failure under JFK..the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam era…leaks within the Nixon White House during Watergate…the Benghazi tragedy presided over by Hillary “What difference at this point does it make” Clinton.. and many others all came to light to one degree or another because of leaks from those inside—or peripherally engaged with—the U.S. government.
But through it all, the best-kept and longest-running secret (until now) is the irrefutable fact that a vibrant, independent news media no longer exists in Washington, D.C.
Seeing this in print will astonish some Americans, and certainly will offend self-described “journalists” at propaganda mills like CBS, NPR, the comically named “Voice of America” and of course the venerable White House Correspondents Association.
The WHCA professes to exist “to ensure robust news coverage of the president and the presidency” (cue raucous laughter) and pompously claims to share the belief “that an independent news media is vital to the health of the republic.”
When it comes to delivering “robust news coverage” of Joe Biden, the White House Correspondents Association is about as mushy as a Pecan Cluster Blizzard from Dairy Queen if you left it on the dashboard of your car for an hour in the middle of August. Not that WHCA doesn’t have some rock-solid objective journalists at the helm: the President is Steven Portnoy, White House correspondent for CBS News Radio (Uh-oh. Listen to any CBS Radio newscast and you’ll assume Jen Psaki is editing their copy. ) The organization’s Vice President is Tamara Keith, White House correspondent for National Public Radio. (Full disclosure: my first job in broadcasting was as News Director for an NPR affiliate in Syracuse, N.Y.; I quickly learned that NPR is great at distributing tote bags to donors who become members, but unless you’re interested in 8-part documentaries on insects from the darkest corners of your own backyard..the rest will be anti-conservative, pro-choice claptrap occasionally punctuated with poetry from violent criminals behind bars.) Rounding out the top officers at the WHCA, Fin Gomez currently serves as Secretary; he’s a White House producer for—wait for it—CBS News.
I do not know any of these folks personally, nor am I impugning their ability to crank out memos or blog posts extolling the WHCA. But so far in the Biden administration—unlike the WHCA’s constant criticism and pushback on Donald Trump—we haven’t seen much evidence of the “robust news coverage” they tout so proudly on their website.
Quite the opposite: most members of the White House Press Corps resemble Winston, my Goldendoodle…who rolls over on his back and wags his tail when any family member enters the room, hoping we’ll toss him a treat or scratch his belly. But unlike Winston, White House correspondents are content to sit politely in their cramped little posts waiting to be lied to…verbally kicked…and, increasingly, mocked by the worst Press Secretary since the post was created.
Just this past week, we were supplied with two prima facie cases of what total wusses White House “Press Corps” members have become:
- On Tuesday, while deflecting questions about AWOL Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg being on “paternity leave” while the nation’s supply chain got snarled worse than any time in U.S. history, Psaki in her typical way first lied (“he’s back at work”) then lied again when asked if that means he's in the office, (he isn’t) and finally she interrupted a legitimate question about folks being concerned about not getting Christmas presents or receiving furniture or treadmills they’ve ordered with an incredibly snotty “Ooh, the tragedy of the undelivered treadmill.” More like the tragedy of the unanswered question…but crickets from the WHCA.
- On Friday, FOX News White House correspondent Peter Doocy—he is a rare exception among the pack of lapdogs—pressed Psaki on President Biden’s bizarre comment during CNN’s Town Hall the previous evening that “I’ve been to the border.” (Huh?) When Doocy asked for clarification, these are the actual, condescending words that came out of her mouth: "As you may have seen, there has been reporting that he did drive through the border when he was on the campaign trail in 2008 and he is certainly familiar with the fact, and it stuck with him, the fact that in El Paso, the border goes right through the center of town."
Biden’s “been to the border” because he drove past it going through El Paso in 2008!! The fact that the “White House Press Corps” upon hearing that stupid explanation to not rise from their seats…walk out the door…and refuse to return until this lying numbskull Psaki is fired(and removed by White House security guards along with her poorly-concealed Talking Points binder she sneakily flips through to find her next weasel-worded response) is all the proof needed that the adults have left the room in Washington journalism.
Even the preening popinjays of the past like CNN’s Jim Acosta or the humorless troll Jonathan Lemire of the Associated Press have morphed into “anchors” at—respectively—CNN and MSNBC, where they can now ply their anti-Trump sarcasm and slanted perspectives from nice air-conditioned studios rather than sweating in the tiny (think Alice in Wonderland after swallowing that bottle that read “Drink Me”) White House briefing room.
Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart—asked in 1964 to define pornography—famously replied: “I know it when I see it.”
That’s how I feel about the alleged “Press Corps” at the White House. Pathetic, lame, and not holding anyone’s feet to the fire. What will a real Press Corps ever look like? We’ll know it when we see it.
Tom Tradup is VP/News at Dallas-based SALEM Radio Network. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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