Why should President Obama respect the press? He knows they will do his bidding anyway. From the Washington Post:
The Press Trust of India, at Obama’s meeting with the Pakistani prime minister, reported, “In less than a minute, the pool was asked to leave.” The Yomiuri Shimbun correspondent found that she was “ushered out about 30 seconds” after arriving for Obama’s meeting with the Malaysian prime minister. A reporter with Turkey’s TRT-Turk went to Obama’s meeting with the president of Armenia, but “we had to leave the room again after less than 40 seconds.”
Even the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, was more talkative with the press than Obama. Michelle Jamrisko, with Japan’s Kyodo News, noted in her pool report that Hu, at his session with Obama, spoke to the Chinese media in Chinese, while Obama limited himself mostly to “say hello to the cameras” and “thank you everybody.”
Obama’s official schedule for Tuesday would have pleased China’s Central Committee. Excerpts: “The President will attend the Heads of Delegation working lunch. This lunch is closed press. . . . The President will meet with Prime Minster Erdogan of Turkey. This meeting is closed press. . . . The President will attend Plenary Session II of the Nuclear Security Summit. This session is closed press.”
Reporters, even those on the White House beat for two decades, said it was the most restricted set of such meetings they had ever seen. They complained to both the administration and White House Correspondents’ Association, which will discuss the matter Thursday with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.
The restrictions have become a common practice for the Obama White House. When Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came to the White House a couple of weeks ago, reporters were kept away. Soon after that, Obama signed an executive order on abortion, again without any coverage.
Over the weekend, Obama broke with years of protocol and slipped off to a soccer game without the “protective” pool that is always in the vicinity of the president in case the unthinkable occurs. Obama joked about it later to Pakistan’s prime minister, saying reporters “were very upset.”
In “bilateral” meetings with foreign leaders, presidents usually take questions, or at least trade statements. But at most of Obama’s, there were only written “readouts.” Canada: “The president and the prime minister noted the enduring strength of our bilateral partnership.” India: “The two leaders vowed to continue to strengthen the robust relationship between the people of their countries.” Pakistan: “President Obama began by noting that he is very fond of Pakistan.”
And for all the respect President Bush showed the press, look what it got him.
But the issue for Obama is deeper. He just doesn’t respect Freedom of the Press or the Constitution all that much. It’s more fundamental than being a complete narcissist and not wanting to deal with uncomfortable questions or restricting an environment that is not 100% controlled–although those are big factors.
All Presidents want to control message. That’s nothing new. President Obama doesn’t feel the need to even share a message when it doesn’t suit him. And so, in utter contempt for American notions of freedom of the press, he doesn’t.
Great investigative journalism by The American Spectator’s Jeffrey Lord:
Even as the drama of health care carries the headlines, beneath the surface, visible now, the iceberg of scandal ripples.
First, the timeline on the blossoming scandal upon which we will now officially fix the dreaded “gate” descriptive. Jobsgate.
• September 27, 2009 — The Denver Post reports that Obama White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina allegedly offered a job in the Obama administration to ex-Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff if Romanoff dropped his planned primary challenge to incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. Romanoff refuses comment and runs anyway.
• February 18, 2010 — Philadelphia TV anchor Larry Kane reports that on his just taped Comcast show, he had asked Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak, who is challenging incumbent Senator Arlen Specter whether it was true that the Obama administration had offered Sestak a job if he would withdraw from his primary challenge to Specter. Sestak answers “yes,” specifically saying the offer came from someone in the White House and that he, Sestak, turned down the offer. Sestak refuses to name who it was that made the offer. Two hours later, Kane calls the White House, plays them the tape, and asks for comment. The White House never calls him back.
Lord continues…explaining why Holder’s Justice Department might not be investigating:
One former high-ranking Justice Department official, after telling me that there were indeed problems with the Department’s silence on this issue, said that in the current political climate at the Holder-run Justice Department, any Justice official who sought to go to Holder with thoughts of investigating Messina or his boss Rahm Emanuel or anyone else in the White House would have to have “brass balls.” A colorful way of saying that Justice Department officials are being intimidated from pursuing the truth, no matter where it leads. Let’s go back to Congressman Darrell Issa.
Issa has stepped up to the plate and sent his letter to White House Counsel Bauer, who now holds the job in the legal precincts of the White House one frequented by Nixon’s John Dean. Bauer, it should be noted, is the husband of now-departed Glenn Beck foil Anita Dunn, briefly the Obama White House Communications Director. Bauer and Dunn have been featured in Newsweek as one of ten “global power couples,” ranking them alongside — honest — Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Bill and Hillary, Beyonce and Jay Z, and Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Argentina’s back-to-back presidents. All of which means, according to Newsweek, the Bauer/Dunn power-combo has power, lots of it. The Congressman has formally requested an answer to his letter — from Bauer — by March 18.
And here are the implications [I hope you’ll go read the whole thing. The story is damning.]
If in fact Sestak is telling the truth, if in fact the Denver Post story about Andrew Romanoff is correct — and neither Sestak nor Romanoff reported these offers to federal authorities — Specter is saying both could in fact do jail time for committing a felony.
Even more remarkable is to comprehend why Robert Gibbs may now be standing at that White House podium five different times and refusing to answer questions from Jake Tapper and Major Garrett. If Sestak has told the truth, if the Denver Post got it right — then not only is the person or persons within the White House who made these job offers in big trouble, but anybody else on the Obama White House staff who currently knows this has happened and has not reported it to the proper authorities — the FBI, just for starters — is, according to Specter, a potential prosecution target for “misprision of a felony.” For which this person or persons could also go to jail along with whomever offered the jobs in the first place.
Quite possibly, that could include Robert Gibbs, if in fact he knows these job offers occurred.
So, keep an eye on this story guys. The President and his staff could be in big trouble. This administration is laughable on transparency. What a disgusting mess.