An hour after he trumpeted Thursday’s abrupt end of the second U.S.-North Korea summit, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta appeared in need of a safe space following President Trump’s Hanoi press conference. Acosta wasn’t called on, so he aired his grievances on CNN while falsely suggesting the President had “steered clear largely” of the White House press corps.
Wednesday’s White House press briefing didn’t feature CNN’s Jim Acosta, so his colleagues picked up the slack with lobbying efforts for single-payer health care, ensuring wealthy Americans don’t get tax cuts, and anti-Trump comments by ESPN’s Jemele Hill. Los Angeles Times reporter Noah Bierman got the ball rolling on single-payer health care, asking Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders what she made of Democrats proposing such a change.
Talk about betraying a bias. A reporter from the Washington Post actually admitted that she and her cohorts had “a little bit of fun” assembling and highlighting examples of foreign leaders who have mocked President Trump. Anne Gearan, the reporter who cheerfully wrote a story last week titled, “Trump said foreign leaders wouldn’t laugh at the U.S. Now they’re laughing at him.”
During a White House press conference in the 12 p.m. ET hour on Friday, President Obama was treated to a series of softball questions from reporters, who repeatedly teed him up to bash Republicans and promote his liberal agenda. Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason got the first question: “Mr. President, what's your reaction to Donald Trump becoming the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party this week? And given the delegate math, do you think it’s time for Bernie Sanders to step aside on the Democratic race?”
As noted by Washington Post reporter David Nakamura, newly-minted Obama White House press spokesman Josh Earnest managed to anger the White House press corps right out of the gate.
While it may not seem like a big deal that press can be "testy" with a White House, consider the contrast at the beginning of the Obama Presidency in 2009. Traditionally, the White House press corps does not stand when a president enters the briefing room, a measure of respect for their colleagues operating TV cameras in the rear of the small room. However, the White House press corps was so enamored with the former community organizer, they broke protocol and many stood as Obama entered the White House press briefing room.
When President Bush gave his fifth State of the Union address on January 31, 2006, he sat at 43 percent approval in the Gallup tracking poll, in no small part because of public perception regarding his administration's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. When President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union last night, his Gallup approval number was lower a mere 41 percent, doubtless impacted in no small part by the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare and the public's disapproval of the health care overhaul. What's more, some 53 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll slammed the administration as incompetent and 47 percent expressed the belief that President Obama doesn't pay attention to what's transpiring on his watch. As to more objective metrics, the job situation is worse at this point in Barack Obama's presidency than it was the same point in George W. Bush's with higher unemployment (6.7 percent to Bush's 4.9 percent) and a woefully low labor force participation rate (62.8 percent to Bush's 66 percent).
Yet when you compare the Washington Post's front-page treatments of Mr. Obama's January 28 speech and Mr. Bush's January 31, 2006 one, it becomes all too apparent that the Post is eager to help the former spin his way to resetting the narrative for the midterm election year while the paper was all too happy to pound out a drumbeat about how President Bush was an abject failure, a lame duck roasting in the waters of public disapproval. Here's how Post staffers David Nakamura and David Fahrenthold opened up their January 29 front-pager "Obama: I won't stand still" (emphasis mine):
"The pressure" over the weekend from Virginia Democrats for a northern Virginia business group to reverse its gubernatorial endorsement decision and back Terry McAuliffe was "hot and heavy," in the words of Dendy Young, whose political action committee TechPAC -- the political arm of the Northern Virginia Technology Council -- voted by secret ballot on Thursday to endorse Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) in the state's governor's race. What's more, in an email State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) threatened payback, saying the Senate Democratic caucus would "be frigid" and that "doors will be closed" as a result of the PAC's move.
A story like this is an excellent front-page-worthy scoop. It most certainly would be on the Washington Post's front-page were the tables turned and it was Republicans playing hardball with a group whose endorsement it sought but lost during a close gubernatorial election. But alas, Post editors shuffled the story to page B1, the front of the Metro section, while opting to run a story critical of the Republican candidate -- "Cuccinelli plays down immigration in Va. race" -- on page A1.
The Washington Post raised eyebrows Friday by investigating something the president’s backers would consider lowly “Drudge fodder” – the high costs of Obama’s travel, especially in less developed nations.
The headline was “Presidential travel, kingly sums: Document details staggering logistics of Obama trip to Africa.” Reporters Carol Leonnig and David Nakamura added broad details:
MSNBC anchor Alex Witt took it upon herself to defend President Obama’s reputation on Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt. To do so, she employed a favorite liberal tactic: blame George W. Bush for what goes wrong in the Obama administration.
Witt was chatting with David Nakamura of The Washington Post about the NSA’s secret surveillance programs that have recently come to light. It’s a topic that is sure to anger many Americans, so Witt made sure to deflect blame away from Obama and onto his predecessor:
It's just so unfortunate that such nice guys are going through such trying circumstances.
That's the impression one gets from graphic teases seen at about 9:30 this morning at the Washington Post, where the captions underneath the three left thumbnails read as follows: "President Obama’s disastrous political week"; "Jay Carney’s tough day"; and "Jay Carney’s day — in 7 faces." If you don't recall such an obvious outward show of sympathy during the final year of George W. Bush's presidency, you're not alone. A quick look at the underlying items follows the jump.
The front page of Saturday's Washington Post took the publicity stunt of shutting down White House tours and spun it as an educational event. The headline was “In canceled White House tours, a civics lesson: Disappointed tourists help administration show sequester’s pain.” Inside the paper, the headline was “Worthless tickets drive home government’s dysfunction.” Ahem, the tickets are free even when they are honored.
The online headline was even worse: "With canceled tours, White House teaching how democracy works." Reporter David Nakamura blamed not Obama but the "dysfunctional state of the union":
Reporters at the Washington Post need a refresher already on the November elections. Obama beat Romney 51-47; Senate Democrats gained two seats, up to 53; House Democrats gained eight seats, but still trail 234-201. Somehow, the Post says this is a “shellacking.” That’s a word Obama used more accurately after the wave election of 2010, when the Republicans added a historic 63 seats.
In Friday’s Post, reporters David Nakamura and Rosalind Helderman discussed whether Republicans would move toward the center on immigration: “Months after GOP leaders began signaling that the party would shift positions on immigration in response to their shellacking in the November election, Republicans are still working out their stance.” The Post website carried a similar line from an AP article: