Imagine the howls of anguish that would have belched forth from the Old Media if George W. Bush had decided to only talk to Fox News and Drudge? Imagine if members of Bush's administration had reached out only to the Internet sites RedState and Powerline. What if Bush had instituted a concerted effort to only interact with conservative media sources? Who can doubt that the Old Media would have decried it as the end of the world as we know it? In fact, they did by so often attacking Fox News.
Yet, here is precisely where Barack Obama is going with his own media outreach. Not with out reach to conservative sources, of course, but to exclusively partisan, left-wing sources, often to the exclusion of moderate, right of center, and older media outlets. As Politico reported on March 24, the president's team is "reaching out to liberal commentators, local reporters and ethnic media" in hopes of going around long established Old Media outlets.
Politico recounts how Obama gave an interview to Ed Schultz, a radio talker with a small national syndication, and how his staff went out of the way to be sure he could call on a Huffington Post blogger at a recent press conference.
But those moves are only part of a much larger strategy aimed at communicating directly with audiences the White House believes are more sympathetic to the president’s agenda -- and one in which much of the work is being done by Obama’s top advisers.
Politico goes on to check off, one by one, the many exclusive interviews and special consideration that lefty media outlets have received at the hands of this administration. From local left-wing radio hosts to black centric magazines and liberal bloggers, Team Obama has repeatedly doled out special access.
It is true that the Bush administration tended to its base with talk radio access (though not touched on too much in Politico's piece). For Bush's years in office there was an annual talk radio day where various administration types were available for a stream of radio talkers to interview. But, the Bush out reach to like minded audiences pales in comparison to this Obama effort.
It is indisputable that Obama's plan is a pretty good one, especially if he doesn't let it serve as his only media exposure risking a message isolated to the fringe left. So, one can understand the concept, for sure. But here is the thing: this whole exclusive messaging aimed only at the far left (like Schultz) is one more strike against Obama's claim of wanting a "bi-partisan" Washington. Obama is proving by his actions that his desire to "reach across the aisle" and connect with moderates and those on the right of center is a lie. By sticking strictly with friendly, far left media sources, bloggers and radio hosts, he is proving to the broad middle that they are not important to him. After all, where is his outreach to the middle, anyway? It seems to have ended on November 4th, 2008!
Then add to that the fact that Obama is doing his best to get around the traditional media by shunting them aside for a pipeline to the far left and you can't help but wonder why this campaign has gone on so little noticed until now? Yet, for all this special access granted to non-traditional, left-wing media outlets, we've heard no complaints from the Old Media that have for so long ruled the news jungle.
We all remember the many times that Fox News was lambasted by these Old Media sources as the Bush lap dog. We remember how often Fox was held up as an outlier, even presented as an anti-American menace. We also remember how Bush was attacked for even talking to them because Fox was considered so obviously "biased." We all recall this treatment, right?
So, where are all the catcalls from the "unbiased" Old Media that all these special interviews with far left radio guys like Schultz and ideologically left-biased websites like Huffington Post is an illegitimate exercise in evil spin by President Obama and his cohorts in the White House? Why are the Old Media silent in the face of this exclusive outreach to far left media sources?
Where is the Old Media consistency on the principle of "balance" that was so important when decrying Fox News?