The mainstream media did its best to get Obama elected, and continues to do what it can to prop his administration up amid the disastrous economic numbers and terrifying developments overseas, but they aren’t obsequious enough for the White House.
What to do, what to do? How about doing an end-run around the mainstream media to put out an even more whitewashed and falsified view of what goes on?
As the 2012 presidential campaign kicks into gear, President Obama’s White House media operation is demonstrating an unprecedented ability to broadcast its message through social media and the Internet, at times doing an end-run around the traditional press.
The White House Press Office now not only produces a website, blog, YouTube channel, Flickr photo stream, and Facebook and Twitter profiles, but also a mix of daily video programming, including live coverage of the president’s appearances and news-like shows that highlight his accomplishments.
“The administration has narrowed access by the mainstream media to an unprecedented extent,” said ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton, who has covered seven administrations. “Access here has shriveled.”
Members of the press have always had quibbles with White House media strategies, calling cut-backs in access an affront to transparency, even as administration officials insist they’re simply taking advantage of new technologies.
But some say the current dynamic is different, and dangerous.
“They’re opening the door to kicking the press out of historic events, and opening the door to having a very filtered format for which they give the American public information that doesn’t have any criticism allowed,” said University of Minnesota journalism professor and political communication analyst Heather LaMarre.