Heh: White House Bars Reporters from Live-Tweeting Biden Remarks

Posted: Jul 24, 2012 1:15 PM

It seems that Vice President Joe Biden's propensity to gaffe has caught up with him -- or rather, with the press. He's giving a conference call this afternoon with the media, but the White House has issued a gag order on reporters until it's over, ostensibly with the goal of preventing live-tweeting of the unpredictable orator. Via Politico:

Vice President Joe Biden will take questions from reporters on a White House press call today, and as has been the case in the past, the on-the-record conversation will be embargoed until the end of the call.

The curious caveat -- who would write an article during the middle of the call? -- is a product of the post-Twitter presidential campaign, barring reporters from the beloved habit of tweeting remarks in real-time.

But it begs the question: If it's going to be in an article 20 minutes later, why can't it be on Twitter right now?

From White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest, via email: "The embargo will allow journalists to hear the entirety of the Vice President’s remarks and get the benefit of having their questions answered -- before trying to condense a 30-minute conference call about a 20-page NEC report into a 140 characters."

Seems like they're trying to minimize reporters' ability to focus on and share sound bites that portray Biden in an unflattering light -- after all, let's not pretend reporters don't to listen to Sheriff Joe without the expectation that he'll say something ridiculous. Heck, I'm guilty of it myself! But the White House has been rather obsessed with the concept of "context" lately, what with You-Didn't-Build-That-Gate, and given that Biden often goes off-script, this is a way for the White House to enact some preemptive damage control. I can't say I blame them. But it is kind of funny to see that the White House is acutely aware of Biden's potential to beclown this administration, isn't it?