Posted on | February 20, 2013 | 13 Comments
The other day, Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen of Politico published a long story about the dysfunctional relationship between the Obama administration and the White House press corps, saying that the lack of access and deliberate manipulation were making it difficult for reporters to do their jobs.
A basic rule of life: If you volunteer to be somebody’s doormat, you forfeit the right to complain about the footprints on your back.
The White House has merely exploited the unabashed fandom of the journalistic elite, which is so overwhelmingly liberal that they were only too happy for the opportunity to publish daily valentines to their presidential heartthrob. Predictably, this posture of eager sycophancy has not earned reporters the respect of those they flatter, and so White House correspondents — journalists at the very peak of professional prestige — are shocked to find themselves treated like rent-boys by the administration’s P.R. machinery. William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection is unsympathetic:
It certainly is true that Obama is good at manipulating the media, but I’m taking Obama’s side on this one. The media has proven itself willing subjects, with tingles and oohs and ahhs running wild since before Obama was elected the first time. . . .
Don’t blame Obama for your own failings.
Look in the mirror and ask why you are such a bunch of hypocritical sycophants who abandoned all pretense of journalistic integrity in order to get Obama elected twice.
Ah, but here comes The Enforcer: Charles Pierce at Esquire attacks Vandehei and Harris from their left flank, signaling that even the mildest media dissent against Dear Leader is unacceptable. Anyone in the D.C. press corps who actually does stray from the fawning pro-Obama herd will be targeted for destruction by MSNBC, by the left blogosphere, by Media Matters and Think Progress.
It’s these enforcer types — Commissars of the People’s Information Bureau, as it were — who make media reform impossible. That’s what Journolist was all about, and you may notice that the Washington Post hasn’t exactly kicked Ezra Klein to the curb.