Archive for the ‘press’ Category

Obama Claims “Transparency,” But Media Can’t See Through It

January 23, 2009

News organizations that cover the White House sparred with the Obama administration on Thursday over access issues for photographers and rules for briefings.

Related:
On Transparency, Lobbyists, So Far President Obama Is “All Talk”

Representatives from Obama’s press office held a conference call with photo editors, who are concerned that the administration prefers distributing photos taken by a White House photographer in cases where photojournalists have been permitted access in the past. It was unclear whether the two sides had reached any accommodation.

By DAVID BAUDER
Associated Press

The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse refused to distribute photos taken by the White House of the new president on his first day in the Oval Office because of the dispute. Still photographers were also not given access to Obama’s do-over oath of office administered Wednesday night by Chief Justice John Roberts and an economics meeting on Thursday.

Television network bureau chiefs also protested the exclusion of video cameras from the second oath of office.

“We’re in an awkward phase and there will be bumps in the road,” said Christopher Isham, CBS News Washington bureau chief. “Hopefully they will be speed bumps rather than obstacles.”

Four reporters witnessed the oath of office and shared their observations with others, and a White House photo was released.

“We think it was done in a way that was upfront and transparent,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a briefing when questioned why video cameras were not present.

Pressed on the matter, Gibbs said, “we would have had to get a bigger room.”

The Associated Press also questioned on Thursday why reporters were not allowed to use the names of administration officials giving a background briefing on issues regarding the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.

Read the rest:
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20
090123/D95SR0K80.html

Related:
http://dailypaulitics.com/2009/01/2
3/a-new-era-of-transparency/

Obama White House: Media frustration

January 23, 2009

A growing media frustration with Barack Obama’s team spilled into the open at Thursday’s briefing, with reporters accusing the White House of stifling access to his oath re-do and giving Obama’s first interview as president to a multi-million dollar inauguration sponsor.

Veteran CBS newsman Bill Plante was one of the most vocal critics, questioning the White House’s handling of Wednesday night’s second swearing in – which was covered by just a four-reporter print pool that didn’t include a news photographer or TV correspondent.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs briefs the press at ... 
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs briefs the press at the White House in Washington, January 22, 2009.(Larry Downing/Reuters)

By
Politico

He also asked new press secretary Robert Gibbs why ABC, which paid millions to host the DC Neighborhood Ball, was granted the only inauguration day interview with President Obama – a move he equated to “pay to play.”

“We have a tradition here of covering the president,” said Plante, who is covering his fourth administration.

Gibbs defended the White House’s moves, insisting aides acted in a “way that was upfront and transparent” in allowing the standard pool into the swearing-in. And Obama himself seemed mindful of making a good impression, paying a surprise visit to the White House pressroom a few hours after the briefing.

It’s been a bumpy 24 hours for Gibbs and company, as members of the White House press corps have publicly expressed frustration with an administration promising openness and transparency.

Read the rest:
http://www.politico.com/news/sto
ries/0109/17833.html

Day One: White House Press Office in “General Confusion”

January 21, 2009

Disorderly is an understatement to describe the White House press office, where phones are not working and staff names are misspelled on their office doors and desks.

Misspelled name cards, re-programmed phones, mounds of paperwork and general confusion ruled the day as President Obama’s press aides gamely navigated their first day on the job Wednesday.

Each found a standard sheet of white paper indicating their desk or office location. The tags had their names printed in black bold letters in the White House lower press office. Three press aides found their names misspelled, three found their names in order. The ones whose names were spelled correctly: Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton and two one of his top assistants, Josh Earnest and Nick Shapiro.

But others who speak for the president found glaring mistakes. Deputy Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s name was spelled Jan’ (she joked it read as Yan). Tommy Vietor’s name came out Tommy Yietor. And Ben LaBolt was transformed to Ben Lebolt.

Also, Burton found his phone had been reprogrammed since Tuesday and he was thus unable to call Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, whose office is located just feet away. For most of the morning, Burton could not make an out-going call of any kind. 

The first incoming call he received arrived about 11 a.m. It was from Michelle Obama’s Press Secretary Katie McCormick Lelyveld. She was checking on whether the White House was confirming whether the Jonas Brothers had surprised first daughters Malia and Sasha at the completion of their White House scavenger hunt on inauguration night. The problem: that news had already gotten out.

Almost everyone in the press shop was without a computer login and some encountered delays trying to the enter the White House grounds. Things were so chaotic the first full schedule of the president’s activities didn’t come out until 12:05 p.m. And there was no briefing from Gibbs. That won’t happen until Thursday, by which time the phones, computers and the day’s schedule will be in order by sunrise instead of the lunch hour.

Obama and The Press: “Dismissive, Aloof, Contrived”

January 13, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama’s encouters with the media lack a certain “Je ne sais quoi.”  Something seems missing.

Oh, I know what it is: an attacking press corps and a responsive, extemporaneous, dare we say honest public official.

One member of the press who travels with Mr. Obama (and didn’t want his name used) said that the president-elect can be “dismissive, aloof and contrived.”

Others have noticed too.

Chicago Sun-Times writer Carol Marin has recently written:

As ferociously as we march like villagers with torches against Blagojevich, we have been, in the true spirit of the Bizarro universe, the polar opposite with the president-elect. Deferential, eager to please, prepared to keep a careful distance.

The Obama news conferences tell that story, making one yearn for the return of the always-irritating Sam Donaldson to awaken the slumbering press to the notion that decorum isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The press corps, most of us, don’t even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who’ve been advised they will be called upon that day.

“Caroline Kennedy Got Breaks We Didn’t,” You Know?

January 8, 2009

Growing up in the White House the daughter of a respected President of the United States just might have its up side…

****************

By Andy Barr, Politico

Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) believes Caroline Kennedy is getting softer press treatment in her pursuit of the New York Senate seat than Palin did as the GOP vice presidential nominee because of Kennedy’s social class.

“I’ve been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope,” Palin told conservative filmmaker John Ziegler during an interview Monday for his upcoming documentary film, “How Obama Got Elected.” Excerpts from the interview were posted on YouTube Wednesday evening.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out and I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be.”

Palin said she remains subject to unfair press coverage of her and her family.

Carolineandfather.jpg
Caroline with her Dad, JFK

“Is it political? Is it sexism?” she asked. “What is it that drives someone to believe the worst and perpetuate the worst in terms of gossip and lies?”

She observed that Katie Couric and Tina Fey have been “capitalizing on” and “exploiting” her.

“I did see that Tina Fey was named entertainer of the year and Katie Couric’s ratings have risen,” she said. “And I know that a lot of people are capitalizing on, oh I don’t know, perhaps some exploiting that was done via me, my family, my administration. That’s a little bit perplexing, but it also says a great deal about our society.”

Sarah Palin

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090
108/pl_politico/17217

Related:
Caroline Kennedy Has “Nothing to Say” (And Says It Badly)

Obama And The Press: What’s The Future?

December 17, 2008

Robert Gibbs’ heady Washington rise was certified on a humid day in June when a procession of media and political fancies gathered in tribute to Tim Russert, the “Meet the Press” host who died of a heart attack several days earlier. The memorial service was a sweet, solemn and star-struck occasion that, as these events often do, yielded a neat snapshot of the Celebrity Washington food chain — who was up, who was down, who was winning the week.

By Mark Leibovich
The New York Times

In a smiling stampede of congratulations, mourners were wearing out the red-carpeted aisles of the Kennedy Center to get to Gibbs, a journeyman campaign flack who had latched onto Barack Obama’s Senate race four years earlier and has been his chief spokesman ever since. By now a senior adviser to Obama, Gibbs was here, along with Obama’s chief strategist and message guru, David Axelrod, to represent the soon-to-be Democratic nominee.

“The new It guys,” declared Anne Schroeder Mullins, a gossip columnist for Politico.com, noting the shameless run on Gibbs and Axelrod. “I bet they’re being inundated with people trying to book Barack on their shows.”

Between Obama and the Press
 

Above: Barack Obama with Robert Gibbs, left, and David Axelrod during a flight to Florida in May. The leakproof campaign team has given way to a transition process that is much harder to control.  Photo: Doug Mills; New York Times

The paradox of this scene was that the Obama campaign’s communications strategy was predicated in part on an aggressive indifference to this insider set. Staff members were encouraged to ignore new Web sites like The Page, written by Time’s Mark Halperin, and Politico, both of which had gained instant cachet among the Washington smarty-pants set. “If Politico and Halperin say we’re winning, we’re losing,” Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, would repeat mantralike around headquarters. He said his least favorite words in the English language were, “I saw someone on cable say this. . . .”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/magazine/21Gibbs-t.html?_r=1&hp