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commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

The Press loves Obama….Then why no access?

This piece by Politico is lame….

If you know your political history…

No sitting President in modern history likes smooching with the media…

I doesn’t work that way…

And the media is a hungry animal…with reporters that have ego’s as big as any politician….

While running for President…..The Liberal and Progressive Media  ( The vast majority ) loved that fact that American had it first Black serious President candidate…and they jumped on board…..

They became defensive and acted like racial prejudice would not be tolerated…..

And It worked!

But once you become President you become the center of the Washington media world…

And there biggest punching bag…

White House handlers  (Dem and GOP ) know that..

And there best defense is to cut access of the President from the White House media……

You notice I mention White House media, right?

All President’s relish talking to local media…

After riding into town on Air Force One..and arriving at their destinations in long motorcades with local police and Secret Service protection President’s are happy to sit down with local awe-struck reporters….

Not so with the White House media stars who are knowledgable and ego driven to draw blood from a President anyway they can…

President Obama…who is after all only another politician…

Is no different….

The less media visits and utterances…

The less screw-ups……

Oh, yea…..the media has to careful..there are only so many press seats on Air Force One….

— Day-to-day interaction with Obama is almost nonexistent, and he talks to the press corps far less often than Bill Clinton or even George W. Bush did. Clinton took questions nearly every weekday, on average. Obama barely does it once a week.

— The ferocity of pushback is intense. A routine press query can draw a string of vitriolic e-mails. A negative story can draw a profane high-decibel phone call or worse. Some reporters feel like they’ve been frozen out after crossing the White House.

— Except toward a few reporters, press secretary Robert Gibbs can be distant and difficult to reach — even though his job is to be one of the main conduits from president to press. “It’s an odd White House where it’s easier to get the White House chief of staff on the phone than the White House press secretary,” one top reporter said.

— And at the very moment many reporters feel shut out, one paper — The New York Times — enjoys a favoritism from Obama and his staff that makes competitors fume, with gift-wrapped scoops and loads of presidential face time.

“They seem to want to close the book on the highly secretive years of the Bush administration. However, in their relationship with the press, I think they’re doing what they think succeeded in helping Obama get elected,” said The New Yorker’s George Packer.

“I don’t think they need to be nice to reporters, but the White House seems to imagine that releasing information is like a tap that can be turned on and off at their whim,” Packer said.

Much of the criticism is off the record, both out of fear of retaliation and from worry about appearing whiny. But those views were voiced by a cross section of the television, newspaper and magazine journalists who cover the White House.

“These are people who came in with every reporter giving them the benefit of the doubt,” said another reporter who regularly covers the White House. “They’ve lost all that goodwill.”

And this attitude, many believe, starts with the man at the top. Obama rarely lets a chance go by to make a critical or sarcastic comment about the press, its superficiality or its short-term mentality. He also hasn’t done a full-blown news conference for 10 months.

This Observation…..

If you cover City Hall, you talk to the mayor. If you cover the Yankees, you’ll hang around Derek Jeter’s locker. The White House is no different, and aides past routinely filled that need by letting the press pool toss the president a couple of questions every so often, usually at one of the various events that fill his calendar every day.

Not Obama. He has severely cut back the informal exchanges with the press pool, marking a new low in presidential access.

The numbers speak for themselves: During his first year in office, President Bill Clinton did 252 such Q & A sessions — an average of one every weekday. Bush did 147. Obama did 46, according to Towson University professor Martha Kumar.

“Too many of the president’s meetings are ‘no coverage’ for my taste,” said ABC’s Ann Compton. “That is a stark reduction in access for us.”

White House aides say Obama has hardly avoided the media. Indeed, he has done so many interviews that at times journalists have accused him of being overexposed. In his first year, Obama gave 161 interviews, according to Kumar’s tally. Bush and Clinton each did about 50.

Reporters point out that the Bush White House was no paragon of press transparency. And since the meeting with Gibbs this month, Obama took a couple of questions at a meeting with congressional leaders last week and still photographers got into a couple more events.

More…… The piece is long with a lot of media grips…… White Press Secretary Gibbs takes a lot of abuse in the piece also…..

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Entertainment, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Updates, Women | , , , | 1 Comment

The White House gate crasher incident is turning into a 'who done it'?……and things are not good at the WH Social Office…..

It seems that there is whole lot more to the original story of a Secret Service person letting the couple in….

Lets go over some things……

Michaele is trying to get on the Real Housewives of D.C…..A Bravo Channel reality show….Which is why she and her husband had a TV crew follow them to …but not into the White House…..(great audition tape ,huh?)

The White House Social Office usually assigns someone to the gate to assist the Secret Service on the list, they produce……this time wasn’t anyone there…..( and I don’t give any credence to Gibb’s statement about the Service could have called for guidance, not with a long line, and pressure to get the people in on time)

It turns out that the couple tried desperately (remember the camera crew?) to get an invite from a Pentagon staffer, who might have indicated that they could the trick, but went cold on them in the end…..

The couple were denied access at a vehicle entrance , but then got out and walked to a second entrance, where they gained access…..

The couple was screened, and went thru a magnetometer…..Which is at first reassuring…..But  due their proximity ….would not prevent them from causing harm to the President, Vice-President, Indian Prime Minister or any of the guests, WH staff or security staff…..

……and then there is this!

Cathy Hargraves, a George W. Bush administration holdover whose job it was to coordinate guest lists at state dinners, told Newsweek that she quit her post after Obama’s staff made it clear the social office would no longer man the White House gates during formal events.

“The social office is most intimately familiar with the guest list,” McBride said.

“The reason why we had [Hargraves] posted there was that sometimes people are arriving late, and she could be in constant communication to the social secretary or the deputy social secretary,” McBride noted.

Ah, did you just read that?

Did the White Press Secretary deliberately omit that fact?….While throwing the Secret Service under the bus?

Oh yea…..

The White House announced late Tuesday that gate staffing policy would change. The social office will go back to making sure that one of its staff members is at the gates to help the Secret Service, the first lady’s communication director, Camille Johnston, told The Associated Press.
And there is more!….

The couple initially got into a Congressional Black Caucus dinner on September 26 ,where Obama spoke….With At this one they again appeared ….with a camera crew and no invitation…….There, the couple were challenged by CBC staff , and told to leave the event…..and the Bravo crew had the nerve ask to shoot the event  (I wonder why?)  and were denied….

Note:…..I join author Ronald Kessler who did the recent book , “In the President’s Secret Service”…..in suggesting the Service be returned  to it original home in the Treasury Department, the agency is simply too small to stand on its own, and that congress work hard to give the agency the budget deserves and that there be  a top management change and a doubling in man and woman power to assist the agency in being able to do all the duties it is responsible to do……

No less is hurting the men and women who serve…and this country and it’s leaders…..


December 2, 2009 Posted by | Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Politics, Updates | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The White House gate crasher incident is turning into a ‘who done it’?……and things are not good at the WH Social Office…..

It seems that there is whole lot more to the original story of a Secret Service person letting the couple in….

Lets go over some things……

Michaele is trying to get on the Real Housewives of D.C…..A Bravo Channel reality show….Which is why she and her husband had a TV crew follow them to …but not into the White House…..(great audition tape ,huh?)

The White House Social Office usually assigns someone to the gate to assist the Secret Service on the list, they produce……this time wasn’t anyone there…..( and I don’t give any credence to Gibb’s statement about the Service could have called for guidance, not with a long line, and pressure to get the people in on time)

It turns out that the couple tried desperately (remember the camera crew?) to get an invite from a Pentagon staffer, who might have indicated that they could the trick, but went cold on them in the end…..

The couple were denied access at a vehicle entrance , but then got out and walked to a second entrance, where they gained access…..

The couple was screened, and went thru a magnetometer…..Which is at first reassuring…..But  due their proximity ….would not prevent them from causing harm to the President, Vice-President, Indian Prime Minister or any of the guests, WH staff or security staff…..

……and then there is this!

Cathy Hargraves, a George W. Bush administration holdover whose job it was to coordinate guest lists at state dinners, told Newsweek that she quit her post after Obama’s staff made it clear the social office would no longer man the White House gates during formal events.

“The social office is most intimately familiar with the guest list,” McBride said.

“The reason why we had [Hargraves] posted there was that sometimes people are arriving late, and she could be in constant communication to the social secretary or the deputy social secretary,” McBride noted.

Ah, did you just read that?

Did the White Press Secretary deliberately omit that fact?….While throwing the Secret Service under the bus?

Oh yea…..

The White House announced late Tuesday that gate staffing policy would change. The social office will go back to making sure that one of its staff members is at the gates to help the Secret Service, the first lady’s communication director, Camille Johnston, told The Associated Press.
And there is more!….

The couple initially got into a Congressional Black Caucus dinner on September 26 ,where Obama spoke….With At this one they again appeared ….with a camera crew and no invitation…….There, the couple were challenged by CBC staff , and told to leave the event…..and the Bravo crew had the nerve ask to shoot the event  (I wonder why?)  and were denied….

Note:…..I join author Ronald Kessler who did the recent book , “In the President’s Secret Service”…..in suggesting the Service be returned  to it original home in the Treasury Department, the agency is simply too small to stand on its own, and that congress work hard to give the agency the budget deserves and that there be  a top management change and a doubling in man and woman power to assist the agency in being able to do all the duties it is responsible to do……

No less is hurting the men and women who serve…and this country and it’s leaders…..


December 2, 2009 Posted by | Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Politics, Updates | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In defense of the Secret Service……Where was the White House Social Office?

On the White House crasher story I have to post this…..

Bless the United States Secret Service……they have a tough, unforgiving and thankless job…..

On the night of the Indian State Dinner someone made a judgement call and made a mistake…..

But you know what….I ‘m not sorry to say we’re all human and I can understand….

I suppose something like this happened…There is uniform and special agents handling the line to get into the place…..the ‘list’ is provided by the White House Social Office with the names of the invited…I’m sure that the Salahai’s show up smiling talking to people and act like they belong…..the weather outside is cold and men are in suits and women are in gowns with shawl’s ….there is a Social Office person at the line..but that person is called away from time to time to handle ‘special’ guests…the agents handling the line has to look at the list and then check the people….Now you and I know but don’t want to admit it but, sometimes people don’t make the list but do make it inside because they ‘know somebody’…I’ll bet it happens all the time…. But these two did something no one else does….they put their transgression on Facebook……

Now if you have read Ronald Kessler’s recent book, “In the President\’s Secret Service”, about the Secret Service you are aware of several things……First of all, The Secret Service really doesn’t belong in the Homeland Security Department…..since it’s inception the agency’s primary function was financial crime…not protection….these days agents spend the majority of their time on protection….now that work in the Homeland Security Department…everything is protection…but the ‘Service’ is small agency in DHS….DHS is huge….and the Service and culture of insolation is screwing it employees…..Second real security would have the president sit in a hermetically sealed box….third ‘stuff ‘happens…fourth the Service has to live up to a mythology that simply doesn’t exist…and the fifth thing is they do their work in public , where the media can see their every move….

Kessler’s book describes how protection details are being cut, counterassault teams being cut back, other this being done on the cheap,  and there is whole section on how lead agents have been force to abdicate screening for large events for crowd ‘expediency’…is that what happened in this case?

I’m not giving excuse here……someone dropped the ball..and this could be a recipe for disaster…

But can you image the pressure it is to be the bouncer at a White House Dinner?….the movers and shakers……

I have worked with brave men and women of the Service in the past, and I tell you the travel, the pay, the hassles and the boredom make it a job I would not want….They lose a a lot of people to other agencies that are more forgiving in travel, work environment and money…..

Someone needs to put the agency back in Treasury, fix their work environment, pay them more and find a better filtering system for public events that are the life-blood of high-profile politicians, that lead this government of 300 million people….

After all… the men and women of the Service are all human…give them a break …so they can do their jobs…..

And say ‘Thank You’ once in a while ….They do a pretty good job…..

Note:.…Did the White House Press Secretary ‘throw the Secret Service under the bus’….by forcefully giving the White House Social Office a pass even though they didn’t assign anyone to be at the dinners gate to work the list. like they are supposed too?

This post has been updated……

December 1, 2009 Posted by | Government, Media, Men, Politics, Travel | , , | Leave a comment