It’s a growing list. The San Francisco Chronicle had a reporter booted from the media pool because she captured video of an anti-Obama protest with her cell phone camera. The tiny Pleasanton Weekly got a call from the White House when it published a story with a mildly negative line about the First Lady. WFAA TV’s Brad Watson got a petulant snap from the president for asking him why he’s so unpopular in Texas. The White House followed that up with a hint that other reporters should think twice before asking tough questions, lest they get frozen out too.
Which brings us to the Boston Herald, which as Ed at Hot Air reports, is apparently being frozen out for running a Mitt Romney editorial about jobs on its front page.
The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails objecting to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news “fairly.”
“I tend to consider the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly in determining local pool reporters,” White House spokesman Matt Lehrich wrote in response to a Herald request for full access to the presidential visit.
“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 US President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the President’s visits,” Lehrich wrote.
Visits by a sitting president are obviously political events, but they are also actual news. This White House treats them as pure politics, though, most starkly during Obama’s recent visit to Texas which was planned 79 days prior as a fundraiser but had a policy speech tacked on at the last minute to make it “official.” And he neglected the state’s wildfire stricken areas while he was here, no visits with farmers or ranchers or homeowners impacted, no flyover, nothing. Pure politics.
I wonder, does the Obama White House think this is a good strategy leading up to his re-election bid? As liberal as the media’s politics tend to be, reporters tend to hate such heavy handedness no matter which side of the aisle it comes from. It is very tough for a Democratic president to get the media to turn against him, but this behavior just might do the trick.