April 28th, 2010

Obama: the press’s abusive lover

When I saw the title of this Politico story—”Why reporters are down on President Obama”—I thought it would be about the press’s disillusionment with Obama’s policies as president.

Not at all; silly me. It’s about the press’s disillusionment with Obama’s policies towards—the press.

Now, I’m not saying that’s completely unimportant. Actually, it matters, both as policy and as a reflection of the character of the current administration, its leader, and his aides. Obama treats the press with arrogant contempt—and you can’t say they haven’t earned it by their fawning shilling for him in the past. For someone like Obama, that sort of adulation breeds an increase in condescension; he knows he can abuse them with impunity. And so he does, when he thinks it suits his purposes.

Obama’s last lingering need to cooperate with the press or to treat them with any sort of respect ended when he was elected and ascended to the powerful post of POTUS. Now, the more they try to please him, the more he realizes he has nothing to fear from them, and the more they realize they have something to fear from him.

During Obama’s recent, brief trip to Prague, a message went out to one of the top reporters to assemble the handful of traveling reporters for a dinner with Gibbs and other top members of the president’s entourage. The journalists dutifully complied, picked out a restaurant, made a reservation and showed up at the appointed time.

When Gibbs and the others were late, it wasn’t too surprising. But soon several hours passed with no sign of the White House contingent. The food came and went.

Eventually, the press gave up and headed out on some late-night sightseeing. As they strolled the Charles Bridge, they ran into Gibbs, who was doing the same. Asked about the dinner appointment, Gibbs said the White House group had simply decided to grab some pizza…

The difficulty in tracking down Gibbs isn’t limited to the road. Even reporters for major newspapers say they have trouble getting their calls and e-mails returned.

Obama knows how to play the spineless reporters like so many tuneless violins:

And just what happens when you upset the White House?

Among White House reporters, tales abound of an offhand criticism or passing claim low in an unremarkable story setting off an avalanche of hostile e-mail and voice-mail messages.

“It’s not unusual to have shouting matches or the e-mail equivalent of that. It’s very, very aggressive behavior, taking issue with a thing you’ve written, an individual word, all sorts of things,” said one White House reporter…

One of the most irritating practices of the Obama White House is when aides ignore inquiries or explicitly refuse to cooperate with an unwelcome story — only to come out with both guns blazing when it takes a skeptical view of their motives or success.

“You will give them ample opportunity on a story. They will then say, ‘We don’t have anything for you on this.’ Then, when you write an analytical graph that could be interpreted as implying a political motive by the White House, or something that makes them look like anything but geniuses, you will get a flurry of off-the-record, angry e-mails after you publish,” one national reporter said. “That does no good. If you want to complain. Engage!”…

Some reporters say the pushback is so aggressive that it undermines the credibility of Obama’s aides. “The willingness to argue that credible information is untrue is at its core dishonest and unfortunately calls into question everything else the press office says,” one White House reporter said.

So they are finally getting the fact that there’s a lot of lying going on with this administration—but only because they’re been lied to. And of course it’s not the Great Man himself, it’s his nefarious aides (“if only Stalin knew!”).

According to the article, even the administration’s favorite reporters have been frozen out when they don’t toe the line. It reminds me of what Easton Jordan of CNN revealed about his cable news network’s cooperation with Saddam Hussein, done in order to gain protection and access from the regime:

For CNN, the highest prize is “access,” to score live camera feeds from a story’s epicenter. Dictatorships understand this hunger, and also that it provides blackmail opportunities. In exchange for CNN bureaus, dictatorships require adherence to their own rules of reportage. They create conditions where CNN–and other U.S. media–can do little more than toe the regime’s line.

Obama is not Saddam, of course. But the modus operandi of his thuggish relationship with the American press is the same, and the MSM’s craven behavior has also so far been very similar to that of CNN back in the bad old Saddam days.

In the case of reporters and Obama, however, the MSM’s motivation initially sprang from reverence and even love for the candidate, rather than fear of a dictator like Saddam. Now that the press’s love for the president may be fading because they realize it’s unrequited, they remained trapped by his bullying—plus their own stunned amazement that the object of their affection is treating them with such rudeness and disdain. And after all they’ve done for him!

They still do not quite seem to understand who and what they’re dealing with. Their surprise seems unfeigned to me, which is a surprise in and of itself. It appears that they didn’t just cover up all the evidence—available during the campaign to anyone willing to look—that their man was a thinskinned, rude, arrogant, bully. They actually denied it, repressing their knowledge of and/or excusing such behavior, so strong was their need to believe in Obama.

And insight dawns slowly, very slowly, if at all. The press remains shell shocked. Love is a funny thing, and hope dies hard when one is blinded by it.

[NOTE: The Anchoress adds some thoughts of her own.]

43 Responses to “Obama: the press’s abusive lover”

  1. ahem Says:

    The beauty of thugs is that they are all undone in the end by the very people they originally abused.

  2. Bill West Says:

    Obama turns on his friends. That’s not news.

    When the press finally gets tired of being used I think they’ll react in a pack. They are a spiteful bunch in the first place. And ego trumps ideology for all but the most doctrinnaire.

    The comedians took their time getting after Obama. The press will follow, especially if they can take credit for discovering the lies.

    Obama needs them more than he realizes. He might have the innate skills of a serial abuser, though. Apologize, bring flowers, say “I love you” and then slap them again.

    It would help to have an attractive alternative in oppostion. They do need a hero after all.

  3. Steve G Says:

    Perhaps these spurned reporters will exact their revenge by perpetrating acts of journalism, if they remember what this entails. A forlorn hope.

  4. JohnC Says:

    ahem: we can hope that’s true, but, as Neo suggests, that end still seems to be pretty far away with the contemptible, weak MSM.

  5. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Great post, Ms. K
    Alas the method of rudeness will probably work, just like the battered child syndrome. The press will blame themselves for earning their messiahs dislike and try to adjust their behavior accordingly.

    Anyway too many reputations are tied up with the O actually being the anointed one, if he goes down so do half the wine and cheese crowd of the upper west side. Better for them to sit on the truth rather than risk a little girl in the crowd point out that the journalists are wearing no clothes.

  6. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Steve G – well put.

    Tyranny goes on endlessly, and looks like it will go on forever, until one day it is just over. But someone has to kick that rotted door in. The situation is unstable and must eventually change to something else (hopefully better). But predicting how and when that will happen is quite difficult.

    It will likely intertwine with young journalists’ expectation of advancement and reputation. Though they generally subscribe to their seniors’ political views and recognise their need not to go off the reservation, issues will come along where the younger group, fully in contact with each other as a matter of professional networking, realises that they, not having been raised in the 60′s and 70′s, see an important issue very differently. They will see that their bosses are not only wrong, but defending that wrongness in the same way they defend against challenge now, with namecalling, suppression of facts, and raw power.

    In a very few years, the new journalists will gravitate to other venues, merging with the alternative media and journalistic politics will reconfigure.

    No guarrantee that it will turn out any better, of course. Yet it might, and we will at least have a new set of problems to worry about.

  7. gcotharn Says:

    Steve G,

    Don’t you know? Barack today defined journalism as “an old Washington game”, i.e. as a low down insincere distraction.

    I empathize with POTUS’ desire for his VAT commission to complete it’s work before announcing it’s conclusions. However, whether or not the commission does so is under the control of the commission and it’s aides. What do journalistic questions have to do with it? Nothing.

    Barack intentionally, extraneously ventured into straw man land in order to define journalism itself as a detestable “old Washington game”. For a President of a free press nation to do that constitutes a scandal which is standing out in the open in the plain sight of everyone. If media are truly becoming wise to Barack, then media will roast Barack over this contrived characterization which impugns the importance of a free press.

    If there’s one thing media love, it’s their own image of themselves as virtuous and gallant knights. With media’s cherished narrative about their own virtue and importance now being openly challenged: will media shriek like stuck pigs? We shall see. This is the time to stand up and shriek. Even I will stand behind them.

    The relevant passage from today’s press statement by Barack:

    Our friends in the media, will ask me and others once a week or once a day about what we’re willing to rule out or rule in,” he said, “That’s an old Washington game and it’s one that has made it all but impossible in the past for people to sit down and have an honest discussion about putting our country on a more secure fiscal footing. So I want to deliver this message today: We’re not playing that game. I’m not going to say what’s in. I’m not going to say what’s out. I want this commission to be free to do its work.

  8. The Anchoress | A First Things Blog Says:

    [...] looks at this story over at Politico and wonders, is Obama the press’ abusive lover? Obama treats the press with arrogant contempt—and you can’t say they haven’t earned it by [...]

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Love is a funny thing, and hope dies hard when one is blinded by it.”

    Very true but once it does die and divorce beckons, the temptation to demonize the previously loved looms large, especially when the ego’s that are involved are considered.

    Bob of Va. is correct I think, in his reference to the battered wife syndrome and how invested in Obama the press is, so it will be quite some time before the present rumblings turn into AVI’s “sudden death syndrome”, where Bill W’s “the pack turns on the former alpha dog” materializes.

    But it will happen, Obama is walking a tightrope and fighting to impose laws and regulations that Americans are never going to welcome. His foreign ‘policy’s’ will lead to disaster and he’s going to get the blame. Once the meme fully develops that Obama is ineffective, another Jimmy Carter, which it surely will, then the leftist/liberal groups will increasingly turn of “the Man who would be King” and once they do, the press will have permission to do so and all of this will lead to them doing so with a vengeance.

    For it still be true; hell hath no fury greater than a woman ‘former lover’ scorned…

    Look for it to start shortly after the debacle of the mid-terms.

  10. Curtis Says:

    Why are reporters down on President Obama?

    Because they are a bunch of catamites.

    The press is performing the same service for San Francisco, the UN, etc.

  11. John Says:

    And insight dawns slowly, very slowly, if at all. The press remains shell shocked. Love is a funny thing, and hope dies hard when one is blinded by it.

    The dawning insight of today will be nothing but repressed memories 18 months from now. They may be mad at Obama and hate Gibbs, but once the Republican primary season gets going, all the press secretary or president will have to do is trundle to the back of Air Force One during some flight and commiserate with the big media types about how idiotic, dangerous and/or just plain evil the field of GOP hopefuls are, and they’ll all be back on the same page again.

  12. CV Says:

    Since the White House press corps is predominantly “old media,” they are basically irrelevant and expendable as far as this WH press secretary is concerned (that episode in which Gibbs blew off the arranged dinner with the press to order pizza is very telling. Just when I thought I couldn’t dislike him any less, he goes and tops himself).

    This article from Vanity Fair sums it up pretty well:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/07/wolff200907

    Salient quote:

    “[Gibbs'] M.O.,” says David Corn, a longtime Washington reporter who is a regular at the daily briefing, is “to talk to the dinosaurs.”

  13. Granny Jan Says:

    It makes no sense for him to be alienating the press. There’s way more going on here than meets the eye.

    Barry’s whole life is a sham. His book is a sham, his marriage is a sham. His academic life, teaching career etc etc.

    He has been living a lie for so long that he probably doesn’t even know the truth anymore, but he knows that everything must remain hidden. People and the press are kept at a distance.

  14. ck Says:

    The MSM will never abandon their true love. The MSM hates us rubes in flyover country way more than they love themselves. As long as Obama screws us(which he always will, to the limit of his ability) the press will wipe the blood off of their fat lips and ask “how may we serve you master”?

  15. Perfected democrat Says:

    “Obama is not Saddam, of course. But the modus operandi of his thuggish relationship with the American press is the same…”

    The only difference between Ob and any number of garden variety two-bit totalitarian left-wing, monarchy and/or muslim dictators is the fact that he is (still) reigned in by the American constitution and government structure; as well as about half the people in this country, who, when and if push does finally indeed come to shove, will not shirk from violence to protect their nearest and dearest and their liberty. The Arizona legislation and Tea Party movement are just the tip of the iceberg.

  16. SteveH Says:

    Its been bugging me for a while now for about our fawning press. I’ve figured it out. They are groupies. You can’t piss off a groupie.

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    CV: did you notice, however, that the POLITICO article mentioned that Corn himself was persona non grata for a while?

  18. Nolanimrod Says:

    Ahem is full of it. Hitler was undone by the Americans, Brits, and Russians. Tojo by the Americans.

  19. Nolanimrod Says:

    Reminds me of the woman who says I don’t mind it when he hits me because that shows he loves me.

  20. Nolanimrod Says:

    That Gibbs didn’t even do them the courtesy of fibbing is like the guy taking off his belt and making his wife bare her backside to show his buddy how obedient she is and how she takes it.

    Do they ever speculate that no one would trouble to write an amendment for such as they?

  21. Nolanimrod Says:

    Granny Jan‘s comment brings me close to despair.

    Barry’s whole life is a sham. His book is a sham, his marriage is a sham. His academic life, teaching career etc etc.

    Right! A sham. So why was his only opposition an idiot? Why did the press do a cartoon Igor number? Yestht, mathter.?

    The only answer is that we deserved it, and that suggests, as Mr. Jensen said in Network, we must atone.

  22. NeoConScum Says:

    Pluperfect post, N-N. Battered Spouse Syndrome for sure. They give His narcissistic Majesty such unfettered adoration and love. Only to be B’yotch slapped with disdain, ignoring and ingratitude. Which brings them, in turn, back for more B’yotch slapping.

    I weep for them. Naw, just a speck of dust in my eye.

  23. Rob De Witt Says:

    There’s a reason for this that goes far deeper than the manifest sociopathy that is Obama’s. Of course he’s scornful of the press, if only because he’s never learned anything about criticism except how to deflect it. They’ll come around; everybody else always has.

    The question, though, is….Cui Bono?

    http://washingtonrebel.typepad.com/washington_rebel/2010/04/jump-how-high.html

  24. TmjUtah Says:

    The press is so shellacked they haven’t even noticed the press room remodel with the beaded curtains at each door and the acres of velor couches…

    Whores. The lot of them. All fighting to be on the right side of the pimp hand, too.

    Gibbs must laugh himself to sleep every single night. Someday he’s going to whip out a laser pointer and see how many journalists will fall over chairs chasing the dot.

    Meanwhile, the Republic falls. Might as well have a laugh.

  25. Mike Mc. Says:

    The Obama Regime is bad people doing bad things.

    The Press, in the main, are the same.

    We Americans need to replace them both.

  26. Paul Says:

    One of the many problems with this press corps is they are brainwashed, they are hopelessly indoctinated in political correctness….And Barack Obama is black. THAT TRUMPS EVERYTHING to them.

  27. rickl Says:

    Hopefully this will turn out to be hubris on the part of the Obamunists, and somebody in the media will finally grow a spine and see these thugs for what they are. Hopefully.

    I’m not banking on that to happen, though.

  28. colagirl Says:

    Just after the election, the retired blogger Steven Den Beste predicted that eventually there would be a huge press backlash against Obama that would make the treatment accorded to W. look mild. I’m not holding my breath on that one, but stories like the one you quoted, neoneo, make it seem slightly more plausible.

  29. E.M. Crotchet Says:

    Nolanimrod Says:

    Hitler was undone by the Americans, Brits, and Russians. Tojo by the Americans.

    Australian forces were involved against all Axis powers, and I’m fairly certain that Canadians and New Zealanders (just to name two others) contributed a fair share.

    Talking of both narcissists and Australia, our own Beloved Leader—whom your esteemed and articulate President recently called his best mate (to an Australian TV journalist)—also has a contempt for the proskynetic, proctoleichous media as well as for juniors, aides and, um everyone else. Recently his national security committee had an appointment to meet the Prime Minister and, after waiting for several hours, left without hearing an explanation or apology.

  30. SteveH Says:

    “”One of the many problems with this press corps is they are brainwashed”"
    Paul

    Exactly. And my guess is 96% of 18 year olds considering journalism for a career, do so out of a narcissistic view of how much the world will just have to be force fed their intolerant worldview to become more tolerant and enlightened people.

    It is truly a sad situation to run into 20 year olds you know in your gut won’t live enough years to overcome the indoctrination they recieved at the hands of their so called educators and parents.

  31. “If Only . . . | Little Miss Attila Says:

    [...] Stalin knew!” [...]

  32. Sergey Says:

    Socialism, just as any other type of civilization, usually dies not from murder, but from suicide. While there is a powerful bureaucracy, propaganda machine and enough true believers, it looks invincible. But internal rot sets in, and gradually it destroys all its pillars. I observed different stages of this decay in USSR for several decades. Credibility of propaganda was the first victim. Since 1970, almoust nobody believed the press, journalists included. The problem is that public moral, economy and efficiency of all social institutions were destroyed in this proceess too.

  33. Jim Sullivan Says:

    “You can’t respect someone who licks your boots.”
    -Ferris Beuller

  34. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    Let’s not neglect our own reactions to all this. We keep expecting the mainstream journalists to change, to wake up, to realize they’ve been had.

    That’s not quite the same as those journalists waiting endlessly for Obama to be the president they always wanted him to be. But we, like they, are waiting for someone else’s behavior to change based on what we see (and which we think they ought to see).

    I wouldn’t hold my breath. After all, a mind is a difficult thing to change.

    What makes me hopeful is that, as the mainstream media becomes less and less relevant, ordinary citizens are taking up the slack and becoming amateur journalists themselves. How long will it be before fewer people watch CBS News than watch PJTV?

    It’s up to us, people. The newspapers and TV anchors have made it abundantly clear that they won’t do it for us, even though it’s their job.

    respectfully,
    Daniel in Brookline

  35. Jim Kearney NYC Says:

    Yea Nolanimrod. The “But he really loves me” is true, but Obama in his way says, “You’re an old washed out whore, and NO ONE will take you if I LEAVE YOU.” also applies.
    Where do they go? Who do they admit they’re wrong to, if even themselves. They see their media dominance fading, possibly taking their careers with it. Newspapers failing, News outlets ALL sinking, EXCEPT FOX!!!
    I think the media whores are terrified. And they haven’t a pair, the cowards. Will they turn on their abusive husband? ONLY IF THEY TOO HAVE A LIBERAL- CONSERVATIVE CONVERSION. One can only hope for a figurative “Burning Bed” scenario.

  36. Mark in Texas Says:

    How often have you heard that cops hate to go on domestic disturbance calls because if, while trying to handcuff a man who was beating his woman, they turn their back on her, she is likely to try to stick a kitchen knife between their ribs?

    The media whores will never leave Obama and they will always close ranks to defend him. You will see it this election cycle and you will see it again in 2012. Sadly for them, as time passes, what they are selling is no longer quite as enticing as it once was.

  37. Julia NYC Says:

    The press has been nothing but press release flacks for Obama since he started campaigning for the Presidency. The odd thing is, I thought they knew this. Apparently these moron reporters actually think that they are real reporters, perhaps seeing themselves as Woodward and Bernstein types, and now that they want to play “real reporter” they are confused as to why they are not treated as such. This is what is surprising. That they only now are figuring out that they are public relations people and not reporters. Apparently they had thought their previous work was “reporting” instead that propaganda spreading that it actually was.

    Yes, they must be very upset now. They’re so stupid. I stopped reading most MSM after the ’08 primary. I am surprised that they saw themselves as reporters. I thought they were just craven media creeps who drank the kool aid. Fools.

  38. Trimegistus Says:

    The only press reaction to their poor treatment will be an even more desperate desire to please the One. “He’s mad at us because we aren’t doing ENOUGH for him! If we just try HARDER he’ll smile again!”

  39. SteveH Says:

    I can’t imagine a career where your job is to make some riots look like parades and some parades to look like riots. It is the very definition of what a propogandist does.

  40. Obama News Watch » Blog Archive » the press’s abusive lover Says:

    [...] the complete article: neo-neocon » Blog Archive » Obama: the press’s abusive lover More Blago’s Un-Redacted Motion to Compel President Obama to TestifyFrom [...]

  41. Washington Rebel Says:

    The Faith (Updated)…

    Abusive Lover It is a simple statement of Karl Marx, further simplified for handy use: “Philosophers have explained the world; it is necessary to change the world.” Communists are bound together by no secret oath. The tie that binds them across the f…

  42. Beverly Says:

    I watched the MFM over the weekend. It was amazing. Thanks to the samizdat internet, I know something of the complete story (also available from traditional sources, but you have to DIG) on several issues.

    But in MFM-land, Nothing Is Wrong! Why, our telegenic, genial, ultra-reasonable Young President is trying hard to fix all the bad things that those rich-worshipping racist Republicans left us with. And those redneck ignoramuses are just trying to hurt him, to hurt our country!

    That’s how it goes, in MFM-land. I feel like I Ate the Mushroom.

    (shakes head to clear it)

  43. Randy Says:

    “Double-Crossers, Cross-Dressers & Cross-Bashers”

    This would be a super great title for any future book about the Obama regime!

    (For more Obamania, Yahoo “Obama Avoids Bible Verses,” “Obama Supports Public Depravity” and “David Letterman’s Hate, Etc.”)

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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