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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   (24)
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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
LOL!!!!

Mr. Blumer - The "bill of Rights" extends to every "INDIVIDUAL" citizen. The First Amendment - freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. It does NOT afford members of the media any special rights or privileges not afforded to citizens in general.

The First amendment in regards to press extends NO further than stated above so I don't know how you have concluded that the
founders "anaticipated" anything separate and apart form the same rights of the individual.

"...John Adams: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Not sure why you decided to go to this point but..... The founders had many opinions about many things! However, not all of their differing opinions made the final cut of the constitution. That said, every religion is protected from government infringement. Likewise, we 'adopted' common laws for moral social and civil contstraint. Beyond those common laws, 'morality' is left to the churches of the many religions and protected from government infringements -- Just as the founders intended! Everybody is FREE to join or not join any religion and follow any moral standards of any such religion or not follow them so long as they do not violate the common law standard(s). That in part, is whats called American exceptionalism! Our constitution is why we're not some religious theocracy or some other restricting and controlling form of dictatorship. What I seek to live up too in my relgious endeavors is between me and God, not you or some government dictate and I'm pretty sure thats the way God wants it to be since He's said He'll be the final judge of all his children.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Lord o Lord (LOL).

I should have said "Those who choose to cover events or express their opinions using words," which of course includes individuals who are and aren't members of the press, and I didn't mean to imply that any given individual who happens to do that has superior rights in any way -- which is why the idea the "mere bloggers" have lesser rights that "credentialed members of the media" is pure BS.

The John Adams quote obviously applies to everyone. If you're choosing not to do your job and continuing to get paid, you're not being moral.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tom - I well understand your points. But heres the constitutional point everybody chooses to ignore. There is NO constitutional obligation of any branch or office of government to confide with ANY press. The presidential periodical state of the union report to joint congress is the only constitutional mandate. As such, back in the day 'journalists' had to spend all their time in the trenches digging for bits of information and stories -- then they required multi source validation before they would print a story. The press whether state or private, have forever been used by governments as a propaganda spigot and its no different today except nobody source verifies anything before printing. Likewise, the political press today, has become a politicized and personalized 'headhunter' press, equally as corrupted as the government for which they report on.

As for independent 'bloggers' who see themselves as a part of the 'press' that is really a joke! Most, simply 'chase' the socalled legitimate releases of the day and provide their own ideological commentary or they chase down literary piublications (books) and again provide their ideological commentary. For most bloggers its not a matterof any equality of press credentials, its simply they do nothing to generate legitimate press releases everyday or eeven attempt legitimate validation -- they're simply individual ideological self serving commentators.

"If you're choosing not to do your job and continuing to get paid, you're not being moral."

Now theres a classic subjective comment! Funny how laywers and consultants popped into my mind. Take a survey someday of how many lawyers on retainers in all the public school districts across the nation actually have training and experience in education law or how many municipalities have lawyers on retainer with training and experience in all the facets of public administration laws. How many consultants have actually not had their services provide any sustainable economic benefit but get paid nontheless. Theres a whole service sector out there whose services aren't worth a nickle much less the thousands or hundreds of thousands they get paid a year. And on down the pike of all the other areas of life responsibilities and occupations.
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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