The PJ Tatler

Why is the White House concerned with the SF Chron's lame coverage when blogs already had the full story?

Drudge is currently trumpeting the spat between the Obama White House and the San Francisco Chronicle over the Chronicle‘s posting of a short 40-second video clip (which you can view in the link above).

The brief clip shows part of a protest song by the “Fresh Juice Party,” a small clique of wealthy liberals who paid $76,000 to attend an Obama fundraiser just so they could interrupt it with a whine about Bradley Manning.

Pajamas Media readers might be wondering: Why is the White House so upset? Zombie had already not only posted a detailed report ripping the lid off Obama’s entire fundraising trip, but also included a much more complete video taken at the same event which immortalizes the entire song, along with a transcription of the lyrics and Obama’s exchange with the protesters.

All the SF Chronicle did was publish a small subset of what bloggers like me had already covered in full. So — what’s the big deal?

The deal, according to the White House, is that the Chronicle went off the reservation. Having promised to publish only a (presumably praiseful) written description of Obama’s scripted speech, the Chronicle instead went all blog on Obama, revealing a peek behind the curtain.

But what other choice did the Chronicle have? How in the world can they compete with the blogosphere if they are prevented from emulating not only the tools but also the freewheeling attitude of bloggers?

Expecting mainstream reporters to purposely hobble themselves in how they can report means that traditional newspapers would be totally unable to survive against freelance “citizen journalists” like myself, because I follow no rules and was never on the reservation in the first place.

(And one wonders: If the White House was that upset by the Fresh Juice video, they must have absolutely blown a gasket when they saw my exclusive publication of Obama’s confidential fundraiser guest list. People keep asking me — did the staffer who waved the list around get fired? The answer: I don’t know. But I wouldn’t be surprised!)

I see this tussle between the MSM and the White House as not only a good thing, but actually to a certain extent a watershed moment: In order to compete against blogs, mainstream reporters must now act like bloggers. We’ve succeeded in changing the rules of the game. And there’s no going back now.

And for the record: Here’s the full protest video that the White House most definitely doesn’t want you to see (along with a full transcription below):

Obama: [in the middle of a speech] …the hopes and dreams of ordinary folks.
Protester #1: Mr. President? We actually wrote you a song. Can we sing it?
Obama: Well, let me —

Protesters: (singing)

Dear Mr. President we honor you today, sir.
Each of us have given you $5,000.
It takes a lot of Benjamins to run a campaign.
We paid our dues, where’s our change?
We’ll vote for you in 2012, yes that’s true:
Look at the Republicans – what else can we do?
Even though we don’t know if we’ll retain our liberties
In what you seem content to call a free society.
Yes it’s true that Terry Jones is legally free
To burn a people’s holy book in shameful effigy.
But at another location in this country
Alone in a 6×12 cell sits Bradley.
23 hours a day is night,
The 5th and 8th Amendments say this kind of thing ain’t right.
We paid our dues, where’s our change?
We paid our dues, where’s our change?

Protesters: Thank you.
Obama: That was nice.
Protester #1: Thank you. We worked hard on it.
Obama: You have much better voices than I.
Protester #1: Free Bradley Manning.
Obama: OK, thank you very much.
Protester #2: Thank you for listening
Protester #3: We love you.
Obama: Well, I appreciate it. Now, where was I?
Audience: [Laughter. Applause.]
Protester #2: Respond to this.
Obama: […continues prepared speech.]