President Obama met with a group of prominent liberal commentators on Thursday to discuss the Gulf oil spill and the administration's response. The meeting came in the midst of a rare firestorm of criticism from the left over the president's response to the spill.
It was surely not coincidence that the journalists seen leaving the White House that afternoon--the New York Times's Gail Collins, the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, and the Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib--were some of the more prominent critics of the president's Oval Office address on Tuesday.
The meeting demonstrates two facts: the White House is trying furiously to spin media coverage of the federal response to the spill in the administration's favor, and the old White House double standard towards the news media persists.
Though hardly shocking, the Obama administration continues to employ a vicious double standard that dubs any news organization that criticizes the president something short of legitimate.
Lest anyone has forgotten, two top White House officials--chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and political advisor David Axelrod--both rhetorically negated Fox's credentials as a legitimate news organization. Thursday's meeting suggests another layer of partisanship that, though hardly surprising, is still quite telling.
While Fox is demonized, some of the left's most partisan commentators are not only granted the White House's seal of legitimacy, but are even give privileged access to the president.
The meeting also suggests that Obama is devoting more effort to spinning his administration's policies concerning the gulf spill than he is with actually devising more effective policies. His meeting with these lefty journalists was, after all, roughly three times as long as his meeting with BP CEO Tony Hayward.