By Dave Andrusko
At first glance this may seem either (a) way more information that you need to know; and/or (b) the kind of inside baseball that is of interest only to Washington insiders. Please stay with me for four minutes and I will show it is neither.
You may have heard about this already. The White House stiffed the conservative Boston Herald for running a front-page op-ed by former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential contender Mitt Romney two months ago when last the President visited the city. Of course, the White House denies this.
The President is in town tonight for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser. The Herald was trying to assign one of its reporters to cover parts of Obama’s speech that aren’t open to most of the media (it’s called “pool” reporter duty and is intended to limit the number of people in the room). According to Fox News, “The Herald claimed it had been ‘bypassed’ for pool duty the last two times Obama visited the area.”
In rejecting the Herald’s bid to be part of the local pool reporters, White House Spokesman Matt Lehrich emailed the newspaper, “I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters,” a reference to the Romney op-ed. “My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it, but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting U.S. President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the President’s visits.”
The White House denied political considerations earlier today, saying “that the reason the Herald wasn’t picked was because the Boston Globe had already signed up as part of the travel ‘pool,’” Fox News reported.
Two quick thoughts for this, the last National Right to Life News Today post of the day.
First, there is no one who is not in the employ of President Obama who would deny that he is especially thin-skinned. It’s not about reacting to outrageous slings and arrows. Ask the President even a mildly probing question and he either snaps at the reporter, treats him or her in a condescending manner, fails to call on them again—or all three.
Second, it’s difficult to miss President Obama’s contempt for the “old media.” That’s partly because he is so adroit at circumventing them through social media and partly because no one respects people who are so clearly in the tank for them. It’s difficult not to smirk at reporters who treat you with kid gloves almost all the time.
Not a big deal, at some level. At another level, this brush off of the conservative alternative to the Boston Globe is still further evidence (as if any were needed) of President Obama’s arrogance of power.