Ed Driscoll

It's Midnight in America

“As nation’s pain deepens, president plays TV talk-show quipster,”  David Zurawik writes at the Mencken’s old haunt, the Baltimore Sun: 

Almost midnight in America …

As citizens camp out on the streets of American cities to try and express their anger and frustration at the way the country and his administration have failed them, President Obama goes on TV to trade scripted quips with the always-safe Jay Leno.

But first, he hops into San Francisco on Air Force One to pick up a cool million at a campaign fund raiser.

A few months into Obama’s presidency, I wrote two things about his media behavior that have only become more pronounced in recent months.

The first: When the going gets tough, the president goes on TV.

The second: The Obama White House has more contempt for the press and less respect for freedom of information and expression than any administration since that of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.

What’s that about Obama being Nixonian? At Ricochet, Diane Ellis covers the other half of the president’s jaunt to California: “Obama’s Nixonian Paranoia on Display in San Francisco:”

As Paul Rahe reported this past spring, the White House banned one of The San Francisco Chronicle’s reporters, Carla Marinucci, after she recorded an embarrassing incident at an Obama fundraiser with her cell phone.  The White House then threatened retaliation against the paper if it dared to report the ban. Undeterred, The San Francisco Chronicle called the White House out on its bullying tactics.

And yesterday, when President Obama was in San Francisco for a fundraiser, the White House exacted revenge on The San Francisco Chronicle by barring all local press from the event.  But the editors of The Chronicle  hit back hard.

…there is almost a Nixonian quality to the level of control, paranoia – and lack of credibility – this White House has demonstrated on the issue of media access to President Obama’s fundraisers.

Bay Area reporters will not be allowed inside the W Hotel today when the president meets with hundreds of contributors paying $7,500 or more to attend. Only Washington-based journalists were allowed in the pool – continuing a disturbing trend by this White House to severely limit access to fundraisers. Even former President George W. Bush, hardly a champion of transparency, allowed local reporters to cover his fundraising events.

As Ellis notes, the Chronicle endorsed Nixon Obama in 2008, along the way being handed the headline of the year by Obama and not even knowing it, because their ideological purity overwhelmed their sense of breaking news.

As far as 2012, Ellis asks, “Will an outlet that so zealously champions freedom of the press advocate a president who will go down in the history books as running the most opaque administration since Nixon?”

Of course the Chronicle will advocate Obama in 2012. In a one party city like San Francisco, in a one party region like the Bay Area, in a de facto one party state like California, where else are they going to go?