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The Press Officially Abdicates Its Role

And turn into de facto administration advisers.

by
Tom Blumer

Bio

February 27, 2013 - 8:01 pm

As sequestration D-Day approaches courtesy of President Barack Obama, nicknamed “President Armageddon” by the Wall Street Journal, to be followed in a month by the debt-ceiling deadline, it’s important to understand just how completely the nation’s establishment press has not only abandoned its obligations in ways our Founders never anticipated, but has also chosen to become a team of de facto presidential advisers.

The first clue I detected as to what’s really happening was Jim VandeHei’s and Mike Allen’s horrific exercise in deceptive self-pity (“Obama, the puppet master”) at Politico on February 18. I was hoping it was an aberration. I should have known better.

The pair consumed over 1,800 words crying a river of phony crocodile tears because, in their view, President Barack Obama, the White House, and its permanent campaign now housed at Organizing For Action (OFA) have become so awesome and overwhelming in their message discipline, information management, and direct social media motivational efforts that it’s now absolutely impossible for any group of human beings to appropriately scrutinize their actions, let alone today’s supposedly resource-lacking, hollowed-out legacy media. Therefore, from all appearances, they’re not even going to try to do their jobs. One wonders why VandeHei and Allen don’t just stay in bed every day. Oh, I forgot. They need to continue collecting their stenographers’ paychecks.

On Sunday, confirming that the Politico pair was not alone in choosing to conveniently go into give-up mode, Bill Plante at CBS News accused the administration of “undercutting the First Amendment … it’s state-run media.” Plante’s statement sounded promising, until he revealed his fallacious line of reasoning. Just like VandeHei and Allen, he claims to be perturbed that the White House is able to “put out their own material” without the Washington press corps. It’s literally as if Plante believes there is no freedom of the press if the legacy media can’t filter any and all information coming out of our nation’s capital. So, because he can’t, it would appear that he’s also packing it in.

Let’s be clear. If Obama and members of his administration wish to go around the press and communicate directly to the American people, they’re free to do just that. In fact, if they believe their message is being inappropriately distorted by the self-appointed gatekeepers, they have a duty to go around them, as long as they stay within legal and ethical limits — which, unfortunately, they are definitely not doing.

The press response to all of this should be to redouble their “speak truth to power” efforts, with or without its supposedly precious access. Instead, they’re using the administration’s alleged Web 2.0 mastery and management of access privileges as all too convenient excuses to abandon their posts.

That the Politico column appeared at about the same time the White House Correspondents Association was whining that its members didn’t have access to Obama’s weekend golf outing with Tiger Woods was especially rich. Of all the things over which to get outraged, being shut out of a presidential golf game would, or at least should, be way down the list. But apparently, it’s the only thing on it.

Among the many more important items: What about Benghazi? If it weren’t for Republicans demanding information and justifiably holding up the nominations of Chuck Hagel and John Brennan, we wouldn’t know that Obama “was not involved at all, during the seven-plus-hour attack that resulted in the deaths of four American government employees,” including U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

Or what about the recent run-up in gas prices? In his State of the Union speech, Obama claimed that “We buy … less foreign oil than we have in 20.” It took a British publication, the Financial Times, to point to the disingenuousness of that claim, and to note that the situation has serious potential for bad economic and geopolitical consequences:

By the end of November the US had already imported more than 450m (million) barrels of crude from Saudi Arabia, more than it imported from Riyadh in the whole of 2009, 2010 or 2011, according to figures from the US energy department. For the first time since 2003, Saudi imports accounted for more than 15 per cent of total US oil imports. The Gulf as a whole accounted for more than 25 per cent, a nine-year high. Other Gulf exporters are also seeing unusually strong US demand. By the end of November, Kuwait had shipped more oil to the US than in any year since 1998.

Last time I checked, these countries were not automatically inclined to be our friends, especially given how the “Arab Spring” is devolving into a tyranny of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and potentially elsewhere. Meanwhile, oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is still 15 percent below where it was when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred, thanks almost entirely to the Obama administration’s deliberately slow permit approval process. If U.S. production were higher, the barrel price of oil and gas prices at the pump, both very inelastic goods, would be significantly lower.

Getting back to legalities and ethics, what about the offensive shenanigans at OFA? The outfit has turned into a presidential access toll booth for leftist high-rollers. According to the Obama-worshiping New York Times:

Giving or raising $500,000 or more (to OFA) puts donors on a national advisory board for Mr. Obama’s group and the privilege of attending quarterly meetings with the president, along with other meetings at the White House. Moreover, the new cash demands on Mr. Obama’s top donors and bundlers come as many of them are angling for appointments to administration jobs or ambassadorships.

OFA has also engaged in astroturfing, up to and including “astro-tweeting” with bogus Twitter accounts. It’s become such an execrable cesspool that even the liberal outfit Common Cause has called for its abolition.

That takes me to the Washington press corp’s presidential advisory role, one which will apparently endure for Obama’s entire second term. Right now, it appears to be telling Obama that he’s overreaching in his insistence that sequestration without even more in the way of tax increases will be the end of the world as we know it. The Washington Post warns that “some White House allies worry the slow-moving sequester may fail to live up to the hype.” The front-page New York Times item about OFA mentioned above is also best seen as a warning, as in: “Look, guys, there’s only so much you can get away with. Cool your jets at least for the time being, okay?”

With rare exceptions, it would appear until further notice that we’ll have to rely on the center-right blogosphere and its social media, its pundits, and its few friends in the establishment press to expose anything the Obama administration would rather the world not see or know, and then figure out how to get it out there for low-information voters to see.

Let’s get to work, people.

Along with having a decades-long career in accounting, finance, training and development, Tom Blumer has written for several national online publications primarily on business, economics, politics and media bias. He has had his own blog, BizzyBlog.com, since 2005, and has been a PJM contributor since 2008.

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Top Rated Comments   
Where the heck are the Benghazi survivors? More than 5 months since 4 Americans died, not a single interview, video or print. When will the media ask about the Benghazi survivors?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (19)
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No mention of Dan Rather? If that wasn't the end for me, it was the beginning of the end proper.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Gee, didn't Pat Cadell (a democrat), complain that the MSM is now basically the enemy of the people for abdicating its role and taking on an advocate role for the President?
That was 60 days before the election. We rolled over to O's messaging judurnaut - Now Tom is awake!! After the fact.
No offense Tom, it is just that many of us think Benghazi was the last straw.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Someone asked about the Benghazi survivors. What makes us think that we haven't had our very own Katyn Forest. Should we assume that they are never going to appear----until the bodies are found?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
After the administration just put Bob Woodward on its hit list, I am starting to think that history is repeating itself -- as it always does. Obama is now today's version of Richard Nixon. Bob's just become a member of Obama's Enemies List. Bob hasn't taken good notes on sequestration and bowed to His Majesty, as Obama's handlers have gotten all the Mainstream Media to do. Woodward better hire some good lawyers soon. I see an IRS tax audit in his future.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I say let the White House shut the MSM out completely and issue all their own communications and messages.

A few enlightened members of the media may see that as grounds/cover to breakaway from serving as mouthpieces for Obama and begin more objective reporting.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It would really send a message if 2 minutes before the start of the next presser...the entire WH press core just walked out and blew off Carney for an entire week. That would scare the shiite out of team O. It would probably get results too.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I sure hope so.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama's media hasn't "reported" news in over four years. It isn't "news" when all you do is take dictation.

DePravda is the Charlie McCarthy to Obama's Edgar Bergen. Charlie doesn't like it if Bergen's lips move. It ruins the act. The difference is, Charlie gets off Edgar's lap once in a while.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Helloooooooooooo, Mr. Blumer. The MSM has been Dem/Lib cheerleaders for decades. It's just that they finally stopped bothering to even try and pretend they weren't the propaganda wing of the Democrat party about 6 years ago with the advent of Messiah Barky. That's the only difference. Nice of you to notice finally.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Great article, Mr Blumer. Gotta get a groundswell going to expose the craven decadence of the tiresome, O-worshipping MSM..

I blame, and therefore loathe, the corrupt media for so much of the damage to our culture and our country. Just the media and this administration has raced to a new bottom, brazen and sickening. Scary that it is new media, but media nonetheless, that may be the only entity able to tear down that monolith and patch up the country.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Zeke1, the Founders gave the press a specific freedom under the First Amendment. Perhaps you've read it: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ..."

The word I used was "anticipated," not "envisioned." The press received a First Amendment freedom because the Founders anticipated that it would be on the whole used responsibly, not abdicated based on who's in the White House.

There was also the broader point made by John Adams: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A pox on all their houses.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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