As we watch the White House slipping and sliding over Egyptian “message management,” it is timely to read WaPo’s Dana Milbank today, who finally the airs the dirty little secret about President Obama’s White House press operations: It was never a place of sunshine and light.
For there is another transition beyond that of Hosni Mubarak. Robert Gibbs, the face of the White House as spokesman, is out. Jay Carney, from Vice President Joe Biden’s staff, is in.
Now that Gibbs is gone, Milbank is fearless in kicking the dog. He finally acknowledges that that under Gibbs White House press operations were “poisonous.” And he is not peachy keen on Carney either.
Now facing their first genuine international crisis, the White House better get its media act together. Yesterday’s White House leak from a “senior adviser” (Carney?) to CNN that Mubarak will not run for re-election was a dumb move, further convincing the Egyptian people that the White House was pulling the strings of its puppet, Hosni Mubarak.
“President Obama chose Carney in part as a peace offering to an aggrieved White House press corps that has spent two poisonous years with Robert Gibbs,” Milbank writes. But he quickly echoes the word the Tatler has heard, that “he’s almost been set up to fail” like Clinton’s Dee Dee Myers, who was hopeless. For the last two years White House press operations were secretive, nasty and filled with retribution for reporters who did not toe the White House line.
UPDATE: The White House’s unprecedented decision to bar the White House pool to cover President Obama’s cabinet meeting and the official signing of the START Treaty has infuriated the White House reporters. It sparked an angry letter yesterday from the White House Correspondents Association to Robert Gibbs, who is there for his final days. This does not bode well for White House media operations in the middle of the Egyptian crisis.