My must read of the day is “Obama locks out the press—again,” in Politico.Read More
My must read of the day is “Obama locks out the press—again,” in Politico:
President Barack Obama went to the West Coast to meet donors from two top Democratic Super PACs, but the press wasn’t invited.
Tuesday, the reporters and photographers traveling with the president on Air Force One and in his motorcade were left on the gravel path not even within sight of former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal’s house in the Seattle suburbs where Obama sat for a Senate Majority PAC fundraiser with a $25,000 entrance fee.
Wednesday morning, when he met with big donors for the House Majority PAC at the Four Seasons hotel in downtown San Francisco, they weren’t even told what room or floor he was on.
“We think these fundraisers ought to be open to at least some scrutiny, because the president’s participation in them is fundamentally public in nature,” said Christi Parsons, the new president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. “Denying access to him in that setting undermines the public’s ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing. It’s of special concern as these events and the donors they attract become more influential in the political process.”
Despite constant complaints from the press corps and promises from White House officials, access to the president continues to be limited. The constantly repeated line that they’re running the “most transparent administration in history” tends to prompt snickers. Halfway through Obama’s West Coast swing, it’s tipping toward outrage.
I always find it interesting, and concerning, that there seems to be an overwhelming tendency for the general public to dismiss this kind of behavior, largely because they’re perceived as menial events. Do we really care that the press didn’t get a photo of the Apollo 11 astronauts? Or that they were kept out of one measly fundraiser, when we know there will be plenty more? Maybe we don’t. Maybe nothing newsworthy comes from these events, but we need journalists and photojournalists there to be sure.
Theoretically lawmakers represent the people, but I’ve always thought that role is quickly handed to the press. Their job is to be an instrument that holds public officials accountable to their constituents and for their actions. They can’t do that when they’re blocked from events.
Every time the White House releases their own photos, instead of allowing the press to be there, they’re presenting a controlled image of the activity. That’s propaganda.Read Less