The controversy surrounding Vice President Joe Biden’s offensive claim that Republicans want to enslave black Americans has become such a concern to the Obama White House that the veep’s staff have resorted to trying to directly censor the news coverage about him.
In what is widely believed to be an unprecedented move, the Biden press shop has severely restricted access to vice president and begun telling journalists what they should write about his activities as they write them up.
As reported by left-leaning Politico reporter Jonathan Martin:
Because the entire press corps cannot easily jam in, say, a diner or private home, it is standard practice to have a single designated reporter take notes and share the material with colleagues from other news organizations. These reports are designed entirely for the media, but are distributed by White House staffers. In the case of Obama, as with his predecessors, the reports are simply forwarded without comment by email to a news media distribution list.
But on two occasions during Biden’s Virginia trip, his staff sought to have certain elements in the reports highlighted while reporters drafted them and discussed the contents with the reporters after the summaries had been sent but before they had before sent to the broader media.
Staffers spinning reporters to frame events the best they can is, of course, commonplace in politics. But attempting to intervene in the drafting of accounts that reporters share with one another is all but unheard of and reflects the deep concern Biden’s team has about offering any fodder to the opposition.
You know this type of behavior is unprecedented when it raises the ire of liberal NBC News political director Chuck Todd who called the editing attempts “outrageous” and said that he opposed allowing the vice president’s communications shop to ever be allowed distribute pool reports again.