Two noteworthy tidbits in a November GQ magazine profile of Obama White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, an article I stumbled upon while reading the magazine’s look at Washington Capitals hockey star Alex Ovechkin’s summer in Moscow:
While Obama has disdain for the news media, GQ’s Robert Draper discovered the few journalists for whom “Obama does reserve a certain respect,” are liberal columnists Tom Friedman, E.J. Dionne and Joe Klein, as well as David Brooks, the pseudo “conservative” columnist for the New York Times; and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was amongst those who stepped up to advise Gibbs against taking the roles of both senior adviser and press secretary.
Draper listed the media figures who have earned Obama’s esteem:
Obama does reserve a certain respect for opinion writers such as Tom Friedman and David Brooks of The New York Times, Jerry Seib of The Wall Street Journal, E. J. Dionne of The Washington Post, and Joe Klein of Time. “My impression is that he reads a lot of columnists,” says Brooks, “and therefore he sort of cares about what they say.”
On journalist Stephanopoulos offering advice to a Democratic White House operative:
Gibbs was already destined to become (along with Axelrod, Jarrett, and Pete Rouse) a White House senior adviser. The question was whether he would also serve as the Obama administration's press secretary. Few besides Gibbs seemed to think that it was such a hot idea. According to multiple sources, a number of his colleagues from the campaign attempted to dissuade the fiery southerner. At least three former White House press secretaries—Lockhart, Mike McCurry, and George Stephanopoulos, all from the Clinton administration—separately warned him that the two positions were too demanding for one person. "I did both jobs at the same time," Stephanopoulos told him, "and ended up not doing very well at either of them."
— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.