Everybody in Washington is On Edge

Posted: October 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Ed Henry of Fox News  this week walked out of a White House press briefing, frustrated that press secretary Jay Carney wouldn’t call on him.

David Sanger of the New York Times writes in his new book, “This is the most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.”

Leonard Downie, Jr., the former Washington Post editor, is very critical of the White House in a lengthy Committee to Protect Journalists report.

Those who want access to the president are increasingly dispirited in attempts to do their job. Access has always been the key to getting our jobs done, and when it becomes a problem – sometimes not for lack of effort –  we get a little grumpy. 

If indeed the White House is surveilling reporters, that’s a problem. If they are threatening employees with job-status or prosecution if they talk to reporters, that’s a kind of prior restraint that is a bit frightening.

It’s ironic that the folks at Fox News believe Obama denies them access they feel they deserve because of the ardent anti-Obama rhetoric of some of their hosts.  The president and his staff are being accused of the kinds of activities relative to the press of which conservative politicians have been proponents for a century, or more.  [At least, if you believe the centrist and liberal members of the press.]

In some respects we’re getting what we deserve. The press in the country was emasculated by the Bush White House in the months and years following 9/11, partly by public reaction to the terrorist attacks and partly by the brilliant public relations machine in the Bush White House.

It has taken us years to get our legs back under us.  

It looks like we still have a ways to go.

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