Imagine if the Bush 43 administration had decided to exclude a newspaper's reporters from full access to presidential events--regardless of the ostensible reason. Does anyone believe that the New York Times or Associated Press would have ignored the story?
Well, in a thoroughly predictable but nonetheless sad development, that is what has happened since the Boston Herald's Hillary Chabot reported that "The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails objecting to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news 'fairly.'" Lachlan Markay relayed Chabot's item at NewsBusters yesterday, and also chronicled several previous examples of White House mistreatment, maltreatment, and abuse of disfavored media members.
A search of the Associated Press's main site late this morning on "Boston Herald" (without quotes) returned nothing relevant, as seen after the jump:
An advanced search at the New York Times also returned nothing relevant:
At the Washington Post, the coverage consists of the following in Chris Cilliizza's "The Fix" Blog, in its entirety: "The White House has shut out the Boston Herald from a presidential event today." Wow. Don't get carpal tunnel over this, Chris.
The LA Times, to its credit, had an item yesterday by Kim Geiger at its Politics Now blog. To its discredit, the story's headline ("White House quarrels with Boston newspaper over Romney op-ed") failed to communicate the situation's true nature, while Geiger aired a mindless White House argument over what was supposedly "on the record":
More than two months after the Boston Herald devoted its front page to promoting an opinion piece by Republican Mitt Romney, the White House press office denied the Herald full access to President Obama’s activities in Boston on Wednesday, sparking an unusual release of email banter that illustrated the sometimes adversarial relationship between the White House and the media.
The Herald published portions of what the White House says was an off-the-record email exchange, as part of a scathing report that suggested the White House was retaliating against the paper.
According to the Herald, White House spokesman Matt Lehrich wrote in an email that, in determining which local reporters to include in the press pool, he considers “the degree to which papers have demonstrated to covering the White House regularly and fairly...”
Citing the March 8 op-ed, which ran as President Obama was visiting the area, Lehrich said: “My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting U.S. President to Boston. I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the president’s visits.”
Obama is in Boston for two Democratic National Committee fundraisers.
According to this link, one has to be an LA Times subscriber to view its print edition online. It would be interesting to learn whether or not Geiger's work made it into print. I'm betting against it.
Leave it to Investors Business Daily to tell the full truth, in an editorial (internal link to Dan Gainor's Fox News column on Soros money in the media added by me):
What the White House has done by telling the Boston Herald it can no longer send a pool reporter to cover local campaign events on behalf of the media is another baby step toward state control of the media, using the carrot of access against the stick of exile.
... As it stands, the Boston Herald is on its own, with its media colleagues in other organizations largely silent as a vindictive White House press office gets away with determining what's "fair."
It's not as if the Herald was making up stories — as the New York Times or Washington Post have been caught doing. Its "crime" to the White House was an unrelated editorial decision to run former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's opinion piece on "the Obama misery index" on its front page two months ago.
Seems the newly self-appointed goons of "fairness" never noticed that what the former governor thinks is of particular interest to Massachusetts readers.
Nor did it notice that the Boston Herald has been unusually hard on Romney in both its news and editorial coverage in the past.
... Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci was threatened with the same booting the Herald got because of White House displeasure at her filming of a bunch of looney left protestors improbably criticizing Obama.
... Meanwhile, an Orlando Sentinel pool reporter was stuffed into a closet and held against his will on the Joe Biden campaign trail, while the Pleasanton (Calif.) Weekly was warned by the White House its coverage of first lady Michelle Obama was insufficiently flattering.
The media silence over these repeated violations of press freedom is baffling. Can the fact that 30 mainstream media outlets have been co-opted by $48 million in spending by George Soros, a top campaign ally of President Obama, have something to do with this?
Or is the urge to fawn over Obama more important than covering the news without fear or favor?
I'd say it's both.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.