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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Filterless Presidency?

In our chapters on the presidency and the mass media, we discuss press coverage of the White House. Presidents often dislike that coverage, so for decades they have sought ways to "go over the heads" of the reporters. President Obama has taken that effort to a new level as Lloyd Grove observes in The Daily Beast:

With their audiences eroding along with advertising revenue, long-established television and print outlets are painfully cinching their belts. They are shutting down Washington bureaus, firing hundreds of experienced journalists and—as with a planned presidential trip this Wednesday to Prague, where Obama will sign an arms-control deal and meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev—not even anteing up for the usual White House press charter. Members of the press corps who wish to cover the visit will have to make their own way to Prague by flying commercial.

Next stop: The Filterless Presidency?

“I don’t think we’re anywhere near that,” said Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton, by way of denying that gambling is going on in Casablanca. Burton resists the notion that he and his colleagues are scheming to undermine the trained professionals in the pressroom, in order to have a clean shot at disseminating their spin. “We do take advantage of the new technology to give more information to as many people as we can. The president made a commitment to the transparent White House, and we are working for that effort with new media—working in any way we can to get more images and information to the public.”