It seems that some in the media have finally taken the hint that Pres. Obama controls the press. Whether it’s producing video from the White House of various meetings with people, having ABC broadcast its nightly news from the White House, choosing the exact people to ask questions of when he’s in a press conference, or arranging with the press to get friendly questions, nothing seems out-of-bounds for this new administration.
If it were not for his popularity rating (which is falling), Pres. Obama would not be getting away with this—and more news stories are popping up about it as his numbers fall.
Pitney asked his arranged question. Reporters looked at one another in amazement at the stagecraft they were witnessing. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel grinned at the surprised TV correspondents in the first row.
The use of planted questioners is a no-no at presidential news conferences, because it sends a message to the world — Iran included — that the American press isn’t as free as advertised. But yesterday wasn’t so much a news conference as it was a taping of a new daytime drama, “The Obama Show.” Missed yesterday’s show? Don’t worry: On Wednesday, ABC News will be broadcasting “Good Morning America” from the South Lawn (guest stars: the president and first lady), “World News Tonight” from the Blue Room, and a prime-time feature with Obama from the East Room. [Washington Post, Welcome to the Obama Show]
The scary truth is that it’s so blatant that the press and Pres. Obama are on the same page. They aren’t subtle. They aren’t trying to hide it. It’s clear out in the open, and no one really seems to take notice.
They even control what topics will be talked about (not allowing Mike Allen of Politico to ask a question about Iraq or Afghanistan).
I’m not sure which is worse, a President that doesn’t have news conferences, or a President who uses news conferences as opportunities to spew propaganda.