'Mainstream' Media Bloggers, Reporters Deny That Reporters Are Tougher on Romney In Press Conferences Than on Obama

Establishment media bloggers are still dismissing the idea that the "let's all force Romney to express regret" talk before his press conference was unprofessional or displayed anti-Romney bias. Erik Wemple at The Washington Post agreed with our take: "Whispering among reporters before sessions would be a problem if it applied only to politicians of one party, but not to the other." 

But when Wemple went to the White House reporters for comment, they insisted the reporters coordinate just as furiously today to pin down Obama as they did against Bush. Caren Bohan of Reuters sounded ridiculous (even before you consider that Obama avoids press conferences):

Caren Bohan, the former president of the White House Correspondents Association, has some perspective on that question. She covered the Bush White House from 2003 to 2008, then shifted to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, then covered his White House for three-and-a-half years. Says Bohan: “Reporters often strategized during the Bush White House and later in the Obama White House about questions and the reason reporters sometimes do this is that presidents are very skilled in providing talking points and in anticipating our questions, and so we do from time to time talk amongst ourselves about the best way to ask a question that will get the most direct answer.”

And did such strategizing take a nosedive after the inauguration of President Obama? “No, not at all,” responds Bohan.

Many Obama critics think that Obama may not have strategized that reporters would stoop to asking silly softballs from supposedly serious newspapers like the New York Times, such as how he was "enchanted" by the presidency.

For sheer ridiculousness, see Politico media writer Dylan Byers, who tried to claim that because Romney called a press conference on the subject of the embassy attacks, "it's a little difficult to argue that reporters were reporting against him."

If that sounds about as sinister as a group of businessmen agreeing to bring pastries to a meeting in order to ensure that, "no matter what time you arrive, we'll all be fed," it's because it is. But in the eyes of Right Scoop, Breitbart.com, Drudge Report, Fox News, and Michelle Malkin, the conversation was part of a left-wing media conspiracy to overthrow the Republican party. On Fox & Friends, Malkin called Crawford and Shapiro "tools' and "stenographers" of President Obama, and said their dialogue underlined "the obituary of main stream objective news."

The conspiracy charge is ridiculous. Remember: Romney called the press conference in order to address -- and double down on -- the issue reporters asked him about, so it is a little difficult to argue that reporters were working against him. But hey, if right-wing bloggers and pundits want to argue that reporters shouldn't be allowed to work together, I'm willing to hear that argument. Needless to say, it will have to apply to them as well.

Byers is missing the point: Are liberal reporters the exact opposite of conservative bloggers? Both are ideological packs? That would be quite an admission. It does not answer our argument that they looked like they were all plotting to hit Romney like an Obama-loving pack who thought the president deserved an abject apology.

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