On the podium, Mr. Obama goofs around in front of the cameras mangling sci-fi references and saying malapropisms such as “I never want to make myself 100 percent clear with you guys,” but behind the scenes, his aides play hardball with journalists:
Finally, this week, reporters are pushing back. Even Jonathan Alter — who frequently appears on the Obama-friendly MSNBC — came forward to say he, too, had been treated horribly by the administration for writing something they didn’t like.
“There is a kind of threatening tone that, from time to time — not all the time — comes out of these guys,” Alter said this week. During the 2008 campaign swing through Berlin, Alter said that future White House press secretary Robert Gibbs disinvited him from a dinner between Obama and the press corps over it.
“I was told ‘Don’t come,’ in a fairly abusive e-mail,” he said. “[It] made what Gene Sperling wrote [to Woodward] look like patty-cake.”
“I had a young reporter asking tough, important questions of an Obama Cabinet secretary,” says one DC veteran. “She was doing her job, and they were trying to bully her. In an e-mail, they called her the vilest names — bitch, c–t, a–hole.” He complained and was told the matter would be investigated: “They were hemming and hawing, saying, ‘We’ll look into it.’ Nothing happened.”
Why would it, when until last month, this was Obama’s chief speechwriter, who set the tone for his boss’s second term by having him mouth the words, “peace in our time” in his re-inauguration speech this past January: