Chip Reid and Helen Thomas
No, I don’t think the love affair is over.
But perhaps the seemingly never-ending honeymoon is finally winding down.
While life itself is not (and cannot be) a pre-packaged, perfectly choreographed, script-dependant entity all done up in a pretty little bow, the current President – forever concerned with his own image, legacy and popularity – continues to take his cues from the Automaton Songbook. He conducts his business like a man who not only cannot think out of the box, but one who needs to have someone feeding him lines from it.
The Cue Card Chief Executive – the brilliant orator and thinker (as we’ve been told) whose only non-scripted efforts in recent times have been the killing of a fly on television (for which he was berated by PETA), laughing at tasteless jokes about Rush Limbaugh dying, and his procession of “uhs” and “ums” in those rare and unscripted moments when the cue card man was away – simply hasn’t the capacity to participate in a any formal public event without having every word scripted, every move blocked, every question pre-selected, every space around him filled with teleprompters, every “evil eye” glare strategically timed and every townhall meeting participant pre-screened.
From embarrassingly reading the wrong script off a dissenting teleprompter at a White House function – and not having the presence of mind to realize he was doing so – to needing his army of electronic idiot sheets all around him at even the briefest public venue (where only a quick word or two is necessary), the man who has been touted to be as quick as Kennedy, as great a communicator as Reagan, and as visionary as King is, in reality, as smooth as a sanding pad and as clueless as his own Vice President. (Unduly harsh?) His ability to think on his feet, collect his thoughts and summon the right words, as has been shown time and time again, is decidedly limited – perhaps nonexistent. “On the spot” thinking is not the President’s strong suit.
However, for all of his shortcomings, I will be fair.
There are things he knows – and quite well.
Big government is his forte. Driving a stake through the heart of liberty in the name of equality and justice is an Obama specialty. Drawing from his Marxist sensibilities, propaganda and manipulation is what he knows. It’s what he’s been taught. A protégé of the Saul Alinsky school of thought, Obama knows that his radical notions of government-controlled health-care, his unprecedented spending and government intervention in American lives must be carefully sold and crafted to sound reasonable. Every syllable must be uttered in perfect cadence. Every word must count.
The only way that is possible is to be able to control, restrain and limit the free press.
And so it was, on Wednesday, that the most magnificent press secretary ever to take the podium at the White House, Robert Gibbs, was surprisingly confronted by two of his own from the press corps. This was not a polite, pre-scripted, paddy-cake exchange between a blind main-stream-media Obamacrat and the Messiah’s spokesman. This was no staged conflict.
This was classic.
Michael Blatt from News Busters writes:
Is the press corps starting to tire of the Obama Administration?
At a press conference today (Wednesday), Helen Thomas and CBS’s Chip Reid got into it with Robert Gibbs over how the administration has been prepackaging media events.
First Reid asked why the questions for Wednesday’s town hall on healthcare were being preselected. After Gibbs tried to dodge that question a few times, Thomas became involved, saying, “We have never had that in the White House. I’m amazed that you people … call for openness and transparency.”
Thomas said that the administration was trying to control the media, and she pointed out how they coordinated questions with the Huffington Post at a press conference.
Indeed, I diligently checked the news wires, combed through endless weather reports and even managed to listen to the “top of the hour” news reports on the radio, and I could not find any reports of dramatic temperature drops in hell.
Thomas is not the first journalist to question the White House’s coordination with the Huffington Post. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank also took the White House to task for the coordination.
Wednesday’s press conference was also not the only media event that was in some way coordinated. Previous town halls have featured Obama campaign supporters and Democratic politicians lobbing softballs at Obama.
As Thomas noted, “[Obama’s] formal engagements are prepackaged.”
After Gibbs continued to dodge questions, Thomas said, “Of course you would, because you don’t have any answers.”
Before the exchange ended, Reid asked Gibbs to pass along this question to Obama: “Is he going to support a tax increase on the middle class?”
Afterwards, Thomas told CNS News that Obama’s grip on the media is even greater than that of Richard Nixon.
“Nixon didn’t try to do that. They couldn’t control [the media]. They didn’t try that. What the hell do they think we are, puppets? They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them. … I’m not saying there has never been managed news before, but this is carried to fare-thee-well–for the town halls, for the press conferences. It’s blatant. They don’t give a damn if you know it or not. They ought to be hanging their heads in shame.”
How about that?
My fingertips may actually detach themselves from the rest of my hand in revolt for typing this – and I may have to rub my eyes more than a couple dozen times to make sure that I have actually posted these words on my blog – but “Good for you, Helen Thomas!”
(Checking to make sure the world is still here).
As Eric at the great Vocal Minority website writes:
Why would two notoriously liberal establishment journalists suddenly turn on an administration they’ve heretofore been cheerleading for? My guess is it’s an ego/pride thing. The rigging of the Huffington Post “reporter” by the Obama team must have infuriated professionals like Thomas and Reid. And if there’s one thing you don’t want to do, it’s upset a news media type with a holier-than-thou complex.
Indeed, it goes without saying that the vast majority of the mainstream media has been in bed with President Obama since the moment he stepped forward from his blockbusting two years in the US Senate to become The One. He has done no wrong in their eyes – and it is reflected in the pages of their magazines and newspapers and in their broadcats. While never missing the opportunity to brand George W. Bush everything from a hayseed to a war criminal, the Messiah’s transforming blitzkrieg on American individualism, free market principals and liberty has brought very little in the way of hard criticisms from the lock-step fourth estate. They have done all they can to shamelessly promote and defend his intrusive big government policies while (unsuccessfully) attempting to maintain the veneer of impartiality.
However, media types don’t like being told what to do, how to do it and where it can be done – not even drooling, orgasmic Obamacrats.
Bam had best watch his step.
Media toes do not like being trod upon, even if the feet doing the smashing can walk on water.