The talking heads in the MSM (Mainstream Media) have gone postal regarding the “poor” treatment of those in their ranks by President Trump and the White House Press Secretary’s Office. CNN did an entire segment in which their White House Correspondents complained over and over again about the “lack of transparency” of the Trump Administration in that the press were precluded from using cameras or audio recordings from briefings. Why the furor? The simple answer: most in the MSM today are too lazy to actually attend a press conference and write (document) the content of questions asked and answers given during a Press Conference. It is much easier to record the entire charade and then rely on their network’s editors to piece together the questions and answers from the press conference that best play into the version they wish to portray to the American public. In other words, White House reporters prefer the Administration do their work for them in a manner that allows them to spin the news rather than use actual quotes in the context of their presentation in press briefings. And, of course, they blast the President for being so “unavailable” to the press now. So how “available” have previous presidents been?
Obama had 163 press briefings, an average of 1.72/month. He is the one with the lowest rate since Ronald Reagan, who held 46 (0.48/month).
In 1974, Nixon had only 2 press conferences – the lowest in a year; in 1940, the year after WWII broke, Roosevelt hold 89 press conferences – the record.
By president: Total / average per month:
Obama – 163 / 1.72
George W. Bush – 210 / 2.18
Bill Clinton – 193 / 2.01
George H. W. Bush – 137 2.85
Reagan – 46 / 0.48
Carter- 59 / 1.23
Ford – 40 / 1.36
Nixon – 39 /0.59
Lyndon B. Johnson – 135 /2.18
JFK – 65 /1.91
Eisenhower – 193 /2.01
Truman – 324 / 3.48
Franklin Roosevelt – 1,020/ 7.0
Hoover – 268 / 5.58
Coolidge – 407 / 6.07
Why the crying about this Administration’s press availability? I wonder if today’s press corps are old enough to remember previous administrations policies and methodologies used during their press briefings? Many of today’s reporters are really young and may not remember that arguably one of the Nation’s most successful presidents — Ronald Reagan — had just one press briefing every other month and that both Bush 41 and Bush 43 held more press briefings than Obama — who self proclaimed to have “the most transparent administration in history.” Which president has had the most press briefings per month in office? So far, Donald Trump.
The current MSM literally worshiped President Obama in almost every way regarding news reports. But in many ways, Obama despised the press corps. And he treated them pretty poorly at times. But in doing so it was pretty common for him to very publicly and sometimes very nastily to take advantage of the MSM’s adoration for him. He used them and “abused them” as it was convenient for him.
Here are 11 moments Obama abused the press:
1. Campaign plane “hijacking” journalists. In 2008, the Obama campaign flew 25 members of the media to Chicago — without telling them then-Sen. Obama was not, in fact, on board. CNN reported: “[T]he press was essentially held hostage with no candidate and no choice but to fly to Chicago on a chartered plane.”
2. Closing White House events to all but the official photographer. Obama barred the media from events — including, ironically, an award ceremony where he was recognized for “transparency” — and often restricted photographers’ access, only releasing images taken by the official White House photographer.
3. Trying to shut out Fox News. The Obama administration targeted Fox News for isolation and marginalization, arguing that it was not a legitimate news organization but “the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.” That served as a warning to other potentially critical outlets.
4. Stonewalling FOIA requests. The Obama administration “set a record” for failing to provide information requested by the press and the public under the Freedom of Information Act. The low point was Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, where tens of thousands of emails were hidden on a private server and deleted.
5. Prosecuting journalists and their sources. The Obama administration pursued Fox News reporter James Rosen’s private emails — then misled Congress about it. CNN’s Jake Tapper — to his credit — pointed out that Obama had used the Espionage Act against leakers more than all of his predecessors combined.
6. Wiretapping the Associated Press. After the Obama administration’s on the AP was exposed in 2013, a senior NBC correspondent excused President Obama on the grounds that he would not have been nasty enough to alienate “one of the president’s most important constituencies, the press.”
7. Refusing to hold press conferences. For long stretches of his presidency, Obama refused to hold press conferences at all, going 10 months without a formal press conference in a critical stretch from 2009 to 2010. He held the lowest average annual number of press conferences of any president since Ronald Reagan.
8. Filibustering at press conferences. When Obama did, finally, hold press conference, he often limited the number of questions by delivering long, rambling, often condescending answers. He “wastes reporters’ time by refraining from answering questions with any candor,” Jack Shafer complained in Politico in 2016.
9. Attacking tough questions. When a Major Garrett of CBS actually asked a tough question — about why the administration seemed not to be trying hard to free Americans held by Iran, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian — Obama scolded him: “Major, that’s nonsense, and you should know better.”
10. Appearing on fringe outlets. While media elites gripe about conservative journalists being given a chance, Obama often restricted his appearances to fringe media: Inside Edition; Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns (which was then nominated for an Emmy); YouTube stars; and a radio show called “Pimp with a Limp.”
11. Iran deal “echo chamber.” The Obama administration created “fake news” to support the Iran deal, setting up what it later boasted was an “echo chamber” of “experts” who would comment in the media to support the White House narrative on the negotiations. Meanwhile, key details were hidden from the public.
Through it all, President Obama regarded himself as a champion of press freedom, having run the “most transparent administration ever.”
I previously (on two different occasions) urged President Trump to — at least for a time — do away totally with daily press briefings and find a way to at least once a week take his message DIRECTLY TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE and the World at the same time. How? Create a “White House YouTube Channel.” Can’t you see the success such a move would be? He could from the Oval Office address all the presidential issues hanging out there, inform Americans what his positions are on each important item of the day, could give Americans his specific plans for proposed actions and future actions he plans to initiate, and could do all this without any concern of a “filter” that would be put on anything and everything he said (if this was a press conference) by the MSM who would spin what he said, not repeat what he said. He has already proven his ability to engage more than 100 million from his Twitter account. Why not go to YouTube to take it to the next step?
For those who would say his doing so would terminate the media’s ability to confront the president on major issues, he could take written (or emailed) questions from reporters during each week and address a number of those directly in his YouTube addresses. But let’s be honest: it NEVER matters how he answers questions, the MSM never take his word and spin what he says into the story they want to tell.
The bottom line here is this: the Mainstream Media will never allow President Trump the ability to — in conjunction with them — give America the honest perspective of his agenda….period. He needs to accept that as horrible and un-American as it is. He needs to now trust Americans to discern the truth in what they see and hear and make educated decisions along with him and other Americans about the path ahead for the United States.
That will NOT happen with today’s Mainstream Media.