Obama and the Media

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If there’s anything that reporters can write about at great length, it’s themselves. Over at Politico, Josh Gerstein and Patrick Gavin prove that today with a 4,000 word opus about how poorly the Obama White House treats the press corps.

It’s actually interesting reading in a gossipy sort of way. I’ll just say this, though: I don’t think this is an Obama issue, and I don’t think it’s a Republican vs. Democrat issue. I think it’s just one of those things that gets continually worse over time. Nixon ran a tighter press shop than LBJ, Reagan ran a tighter one still (or, perhaps, a more sophisticated one), Clinton took it another step, and then Bush yet another. In the same way that (mostly) Republicans have discovered that a lot of legislative rules are actually just traditions that can be revoked whenever it’s convenient, the White House over the years has discovered that it can put a tighter and tigher leash on the press and control its message better without paying any real price. I expect this process to continue regardless of who’s in the Oval Office. It’s just a reflection of the changing media environment.

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