CBS's Bill Plante: Obama Administration 'Undercutting First Amendment,' 'It's State-Run Media'
Bill Plante, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent, made a rather shocking statement Sunday about the Obama administration's media strategy.
Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, Plante said that to the extent the White House is able to "put out their own material" without the Washington press corps, "they're undercutting the First Amendment...it's state-run media" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: Bill Plante, you've been patrolling that building since Ronald Reagan. Does the White House press look a little self-involved, a little whiny as I said earlier, complaining about this Tiger incident?
BILL PLANTE, CBS NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We've gotten used to being called whiny lapdogs. I've heard it for 30 years. But this is not about a picture of Tiger Woods. This is about access to the president. And access to the president has been cut and pushed and curtailed over every administration I've covered.
And here's the nub of it, Howie: this administration has the tools to reach people on their own. They don't need us as much. And to the extent that they're able to do that, they're undercutting the First Amendment, which guarantees a free press through many voices. If they put out their own material, it's state-run media.
Conservative radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin have been talking about state-run media since Obama was elected. It's nevertheless extraordinary to hear this from someone at CBS News.
Of course, it would have been nice for Plante to say this before Election Day.
Regardless, it's going to be interesting to see whether more in the media begin making this case or if the lapdogs will just continue lapping.