Ed Driscoll

Grim Milestone: Obama Has Frozen Out C-SPAN For Four Years

As Jay Cost noted today, Obama, our now semi-retired president, has worked very hard to alienate both parties in Congress; at the Washington Post, Erik Wemple writes that he’s similarly frozen out C-SPAN:

As reported in Sharyl Attkisson’s new book, “Stonewalled,” C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb interviewed President Obama in the Oval Office on Aug. 12, 2010. In that session, Lamb asked Obama what he’d changed in the Oval Office. The president responded, in part: “We have not yet redecorated this room . . . Given that we are in the midst of some very difficult economic times, we decided to hold off last year in terms of making some changes.” Lamb’s session with the president was part of a documentary on the White House that C-SPAN was planning for a later date.

Notwithstanding the decision to “hold off last year,” the Oval Office got a new look just days after the president’s Aug. 12 chat with Lamb. On Aug. 31, The Post published a story on the makeover. Concerned that C-SPAN would publish the interview with Obama in the wake of the news in The Post, White House officials contacted C-SPAN to “make sure” that the network didn’t release the Obama remarks until weeks later, when the full documentary was ready, Attkisson writes.

C-SPAN defines its mission as a “public service,” a calling at odds with taking orders from the White House. It dropped its Obama-Oval Office footage on Aug. 31. According to Attkisson’s book, Josh Earnest, then deputy press secretary, threatened to “withhold future access” from C-SPAN.

That was four years ago. What has happened since then? “I will say that we’ve not been able to get interviews with the president, vice president or the first lady as well,” says Mortman. And what about lesser-ranking White House officials? “No results at the lower levels,” says Mortman, noting that the White House generally cites scheduling issues in rejecting interview requests. Several C-SPAN programs feature interviews — “Washington Journal,” “Newsmakers,” “Communicators,” “In Depth” and “Q&A” — though the network would commonly invite White House officials for “stand-alone” sessions, according to Mortman.

Longtime readers of the blog know I don’t believe in “objectivity” as the MSM defines it; it’s a self-serving vestigial term they’ve held over from the early days of mass media when there were only three TV networks, wire services, and one or two newspapers per big city. But C-SPAN is about as close as it gets to an objective TV channel in the 21st century, and a DC institution. For Obama and his handlers to freeze out that channel is yet another reminder of the insular Castro-esque bubble they wish to reside in.

Related: Peter Wehner on “Obama’s Extraordinary Damage to His Party.” No wonder Mr. Obama’s Democrat predecessor in the White House dubbed him an amateur.