White House's Relations With Media Turn Nasty


The Washington Post reports that journalists are complaining of the White House’s heavy-handed rudeness towards them when they do anything but fawn over the administration, branding the correspondence “nastygrams.”

… this year, some reporters say, things have taken a decidedly frosty turn.

When a reporter gets something wrong or is perceived as being too aggressive, the response is often swift and sometimes at top volume, reporters say …

… In one of the e-mails that reporters have dubbed “nastygrams,” White House press secretary Jay Carney branded one of Mason’s stories “partisan, inflammatory and tendentious.” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, reacting to comments Mason made in a TV discussion, sent her an e-mail that included an animated picture of a crying mime — a visual suggestion that she was whining.

WaPo tries to offset this by reminding readers of how past press secretaries went to bat with media bosses over the heads of beat reporters, but this pales in comparison to what we’ve seen from the “most transparent” administration ever.

Although many praise Carney for improved access, they say the tone of private communication has become harsher under him.

You think? And it’s not just Jay Carney — it’s the entire administration:

White House Attempts To Bully Reporter Over Biden Questions:

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Joe Biden has traveled across the country, threatening Americans with “rapes and murders” if congress didn’t pass Obama’s jobs bill, the same jobs bill that Democrats killed in the Senate (so are on the hook for said “rapes and murders?”). He didn’t like the questioning he received from Human Events’s Jason Mattera on the subject, so now the White House is taking aim at Mattera with an investigation.

Joe Biden’s office has complained to the Senate press gallery about a confrontation the vice president had with a conservative journalist last week on Capitol Hill.

Biden aides asked whether Senate rules were broken in the wake of the contentious exchange between the vice president and the reporter.

Eric Holder Lashes Out At Media For Asking About Fast And Furious:

Fed up with the media attention, Eric Holder today lashed out at the Daily Caller for daring to ask him about the scandal, replete with finger-pointing.

Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder today demanded The Daily Caller stop publishing articles about the growing calls in Congress for his resignation because of the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program.

As Holder’s aide was escorting the attorney general offstage following his remarks Tuesday afternoon at the White House, a Daily Caller reporter introduced himself and shook Holder’s hand. The reporter asked him for a response to the growing chorus of federal legislators demanding his resignation.

Holder stepped towards the exit, then turned around, stepped back toward the reporter, and sternly said, “You guys need to — you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”

Audio and full story here.

The press is behind it? The Daily Caller reporter? Holder behaves as if this reporter walked guns across the border himself, only to return to the office and pen salacious stories about Holder’s knowledge and sanction of it.

The WaPo piece also mentions Sharyl Attkisson’s dressing down by a DOJ rep:

The always-brittle relations between the media and administration spokespeople briefly flared into public view early this fall when a CBS reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, said she was dressed down first by a Justice Department representative, Tracy Schmaler, and later was “screamed” at and “cussed” out by a White House spokesman, Eric Schultz.

Honestly, media shouldn’t be surprised.

Martha Joynt Kumar, a political science professor at Towson University who studies the relationship between the White House and the media, said she has noticed “increased acrimony” in e-mail exchanges between reporters and White House communications employees since the Bush administration. Kumar, who received copies of the e-mails from reporters, says she has been particularly struck by the language, which has become “sharper and more confrontational, and more angry” over time.

The same administration who likened half of the country to “Nazis” due to their desire to pay their own medical bills, the same administration who placed well-meaning conservatives and returning troops from the Middle East ont he DHS list for suspicion over “domestic terrorism” and freak outs, respectively will surely turn on the press–especially the lower the President falls in the polls.

And that’s just it: the more the President struggles, the more combative his administration becomes with the media. They are invested in his success, having carried so much water for him during 2008; if he fails, their failure is more pronounced.

The article notes that Carney hasn’t limited access, but I disagree. A contentious attitude and using a position as a bully pulpit to browbeat reporters into submission is a form of denial if I ever heard one. Even now, the media still feels the need to make excuses for the administration while they reluctantly report (kudos) on it.


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