Senior White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer is set to perform the ‘full Ginsburg’ on Sunday, appearing on all five major Sunday morning news shows in the latest sign that the Obama administration is determined to fight for control of the news cycle following an explosion of major scandals in the past several days.
Pfeiffer will appear on CNN’s State of the Union, ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation, NBC’s Meet the Press, and Fox News’ Fox News Sunday.
The White House began suffering unusual setbacks in the media following the revelation that its edits to “talking points” on the Benghazi terror attack were more extensive and substantial than first admitted, and that it sought to minimize references to terrorism while pushing a false story that the attack was a “protest” against a YouTube video. On May 10, the IRS revealed–and apologized for–targeting conservative groups, triggering both criminal and congressional investigations. And on May 13, the Associated Press protested against a Department of Justice seizure of journalists’ telephone records.
Those major scandals created (or, for conservatives, reinforced) an image of an administration willing to abuse its power to manipulate the media, punish its political opponents and discourage whistleblowers. The White House was slow and ineffective in its initial responses.
White House spokesperson Jay Carney gave journalists explanations about the Benghazi emails that were subsequently shown to be false; President Obama did not respond to the IRS scandal until asked a question by a reporter three days later; and the administration irked reporters by defending the AP subpoenas on national security grounds.
In the wake of the scandals and the Obama administration’s poor response, several critics of conservatives, including MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and CNN’s Piers Morgan, acknowledged for the first time that conservative fears of the powers big government on issues such as gun control might have merit.
Pfeiffer’s five-show effort parallels the feat first performed by Monica Lewinsky’s lawyer, the late William Ginsburg, in 1998. He will fall short, however, of the marks set by former Florida governor Jeb Bush (who appeared on all five “Ginsburg” shows plus Al Punto on the Spanish-language Univision network) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (who appeared on Univision and Telemundo).
Last year, Pfeiffer issued an apology to conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer over the White House’s misleading explanations for the disappearance of a bust of Winston Churchill.