WaPo Boosts Gibbs, Disses Press: 'Positive Coverage Has Always Been a Fact of Life'

On Tuesday's front page, Washington Post reporter Jason Horowitz reported press secretary Robert Gibbs will eventually be promoted out of that pedestrian job of White House press secretary and become a senior strategist. Team Obama's disdain for their press enablers was a given:

By and large, positive coverage has always been a fact of life in the Obama universe, so it's not surprising that the administration's press secretary, especially one who is personally close to the president, is less interested in wooing the reporters in the room than sparring with them.

Horowitz noted some terse exchanges from several weeks ago between Gibbs and the network correspondents, but suggested that the press was increasingly "anachronistic" and irrelevant and Gibbs' job was "less lofty" than it used to be: 

Gibbs's lectern stands in a room that was once the White House swimming pool and, before that, a laundry room. In the Gibbs era of Obama message control, reporters in the briefing theater are slowly being reduced to a chorus complaining about access, or, worse, scenery in an anachronistic play.

It's a little mysterious why the Washington Post would accept the idea that the White House press corps is suddenly as irrelevant as "scenery." If a Republican president or press secretary gave off a whiff of that odor, the Post would sense a frightening contempt for democracy itself.

But then, this sentence sounds a little comical: "There are a few things about Gibbs that irritate even the least excitable reporters in the briefing room, although none of them would speak for the record out of fear of retaliation."

Does that mean Horowitz couldn't get a quote on the record from the White House reporters for the Washington Post? Wouldn't that mean that the editors of the Washington Post also fear "retaliation" from Robert Gibbs, the man they're now boosting as a future strategist? 

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis