Reporters say the White House is thin-skinned, controlling, eager to go over their heads and stingy with even basic information. All White Houses try to control the message. But this White House has pledged to be more open than its predecessors – and reporters feel it doesn’t live up to that pledge in several key areas:
— Day-to-day interaction with Obama is almost non-existent, and he talks to the press corps far less often than Bill Clinton or even George W. Bush did. Clinton took questions nearly every weekday, on average. Obama barely does it once a week.
— The ferocity of pushback is intense. A routine press query can draw a string of vitriolic emails. A negative story can draw a profane high-decibel phone call – or worse. Some reporters feel like they’ve been frozen out after crossing the White House.
— Except for a few reporters, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs can be distant and difficult to reach - even though his job is to be one of the main conduits from president to press. “It’s an odd White House where it’s easier to get the White House chief of staff on the phone than the White House press secretary,” one top reporter said.
— And at the very moment many reporters feel shut out, one paper - the New York Times - enjoys a favoritism from Obama and his staff that makes competitors fume, with gift-wrapped scoops and loads of presidential face-time.
Gosh, I'm just SHOCKED the the NYTimes shares a cozy relationship with the Obama administration. I never would've guessed...
Update: CNBC apparently also has an axe to grind with the administration. The network's Media & Technology Editor, Dennis Kneale, published a lengthy essay two days ago in which he calls Obama a "bully" and compares him to Nixon:
Obama’s latest broadside came over the weekend, when he vehemently criticized the state of Arizona and its (Republican) governor for passing a tough new law on illegal immigration.
The President called the measure “misguided” and all but labeled it un-American. He even ordered the Department of Justice, before the ink on this bill-signing has even dried, to examine the civil-rights “implications” of the new law. Seems like the courts and rights groups could handle that once any problem actually emerges.
Can you remember any other modern President, wagging a finger from on high, so directly and bitterly criticizing a new law passed by any state? ...
Similarly, President Obama maligns Wall Street for trying to have a say in financial reform and lobbying for its interests, though this input is a vital ingredient in any democratic process. Yet Obama doesn’t criticize giant unions like the AFL-CIO and the SEIU when they similarly lobby on fin-reg... Even though Wall Street has a far more legitimate claim to get involved in this debate than do the unions, which represent only 7% of the private work force and essentially should have no dog in this fight at all.
Obama: putting the "bully" in the bully pulpit.