March 4 2013
The newest status symbol for journalists: having been “abused” by somebody in the Obama White House.
Maureen Callahan has a riveting piece on reporters who are coming forward to claim this status symbol in the New York Post (headline: “Beat the Press”):
Finally, this week, reporters are pushing back. Even Jonathan Alter — who frequently appears on the Obama-friendly MSNBC — came forward to say he, too, had been treated horribly by the administration for writing something they didn’t like.
“There is a kind of threatening tone that, from time to time — not all the time — comes out of these guys,” Alter said this week. During the 2008 campaign swing through Berlin, Alter said that future White House press secretary Robert Gibbs disinvited him from a dinner between Obama and the press corps over it.
“I was told ‘Don’t come,’ in a fairly abusive e-mail,” he said. “[It] made what Gene Sperling wrote [to Woodward] look like patty-cake.”
Poor Jon! I hope he managed to make alternative dinner plans.
Frankly, I happen to think that reporters should be tough enough to stand up to a White House, any White House, even one that is thuggish.
But I also think that thuggish behavior on the part of White House insiders is an important story. I don’t care if poor widdle reporters get uninvited to dinner, but the public needs to know if we have a genuinely abusive crowd installed in the white House. We need to know with what kinds of people a president surrounds himself.
There was one abuse story told to Callahan by a “DC veteran” which the public in particular should have known. It occurs against the backdrop of a White House and campaign that promoted the bogus notion of a GOP “War on Women.” Here it is from Callahan's piece:
“I had a young reporter asking tough, important questions of an Obama Cabinet secretary,” says one DC veteran. “She was doing her job, and they were trying to bully her. In an e-mail, they called her the vilest names — bitch, c–t, a–hole.” He complained and was told the matter would be investigated: “They were hemming and hawing, saying, ‘We’ll look into it.’ Nothing happened.”
It was journalistic malfeasance not to tell us this. It was especially relevant in light of the "War on Women" rhetoric.
Hat tip: Jammie Wearing Fool