As noted by Washington Post reporter David Nakamura, newly-minted Obama White House press spokesman Josh Earnest managed to anger the White House press corps right out of the gate.
While it may not seem like a big deal that press can be "testy" with a White House, consider the contrast at the beginning of the Obama Presidency in 2009. Traditionally, the White House press corps does not stand when a president enters the briefing room, a measure of respect for their colleagues operating TV cameras in the rear of the small room. However, the White House press corps was so enamored with the former community organizer, they broke protocol and many stood as Obama entered the White House press briefing room.
When President Bush gave his fifth State of the Union address on January 31, 2006, he sat at 43 percent approval in the Gallup tracking poll, in no small part because of public perception regarding his administration's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. When President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union last night, his Gallup approval number was lower a mere 41 percent, doubtless impacted in no small part by the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare and the public's disapproval of the health care overhaul. What's more, some 53 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll slammed the administration as incompetent and 47 percent expressed the belief that President Obama doesn't pay attention to what's transpiring on his watch. As to more objective metrics, the job situation is worse at this point in Barack Obama's presidency than it was the same point in George W. Bush's with higher unemployment (6.7 percent to Bush's 4.9 percent) and a woefully low labor force participation rate (62.8 percent to Bush's 66 percent).
Yet when you compare the Washington Post's front-page treatments of Mr. Obama's January 28 speech and Mr. Bush's January 31, 2006 one, it becomes all too apparent that the Post is eager to help the former spin his way to resetting the narrative for the midterm election year while the paper was all too happy to pound out a drumbeat about how President Bush was an abject failure, a lame duck roasting in the waters of public disapproval. Here's how Post staffers David Nakamura and David Fahrenthold opened up their January 29 front-pager "Obama: I won't stand still" (emphasis mine):
"The pressure" over the weekend from Virginia Democrats for a northern Virginia business group to reverse its gubernatorial endorsement decision and back Terry McAuliffe was "hot and heavy," in the words of Dendy Young, whose political action committee TechPAC -- the political arm of the Northern Virginia Technology Council -- voted by secret ballot on Thursday to endorse Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) in the state's governor's race. What's more, in an email State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) threatened payback, saying the Senate Democratic caucus would "be frigid" and that "doors will be closed" as a result of the PAC's move.
A story like this is an excellent front-page-worthy scoop. It most certainly would be on the Washington Post's front-page were the tables turned and it was Republicans playing hardball with a group whose endorsement it sought but lost during a close gubernatorial election. But alas, Post editors shuffled the story to page B1, the front of the Metro section, while opting to run a story critical of the Republican candidate -- "Cuccinelli plays down immigration in Va. race" -- on page A1.
The Washington Post raised eyebrows Friday by investigating something the president’s backers would consider lowly “Drudge fodder” – the high costs of Obama’s travel, especially in less developed nations.
The headline was “Presidential travel, kingly sums: Document details staggering logistics of Obama trip to Africa.” Reporters Carol Leonnig and David Nakamura added broad details:
MSNBC anchor Alex Witt took it upon herself to defend President Obama’s reputation on Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt. To do so, she employed a favorite liberal tactic: blame George W. Bush for what goes wrong in the Obama administration.
Witt was chatting with David Nakamura of The Washington Post about the NSA’s secret surveillance programs that have recently come to light. It’s a topic that is sure to anger many Americans, so Witt made sure to deflect blame away from Obama and onto his predecessor: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
It's just so unfortunate that such nice guys are going through such trying circumstances.
That's the impression one gets from graphic teases seen at about 9:30 this morning at the Washington Post, where the captions underneath the three left thumbnails read as follows: "President Obama’s disastrous political week"; "Jay Carney’s tough day"; and "Jay Carney’s day — in 7 faces." If you don't recall such an obvious outward show of sympathy during the final year of George W. Bush's presidency, you're not alone. A quick look at the underlying items follows the jump.
The front page of Saturday's Washington Post took the publicity stunt of shutting down White House tours and spun it as an educational event. The headline was “In canceled White House tours, a civics lesson: Disappointed tourists help administration show sequester’s pain.” Inside the paper, the headline was “Worthless tickets drive home government’s dysfunction.” Ahem, the tickets are free even when they are honored.
The online headline was even worse: "With canceled tours, White House teaching how democracy works." Reporter David Nakamura blamed not Obama but the "dysfunctional state of the union":
Reporters at the Washington Post need a refresher already on the November elections. Obama beat Romney 51-47; Senate Democrats gained two seats, up to 53; House Democrats gained eight seats, but still trail 234-201. Somehow, the Post says this is a “shellacking.” That’s a word Obama used more accurately after the wave election of 2010, when the Republicans added a historic 63 seats.
In Friday’s Post, reporters David Nakamura and Rosalind Helderman discussed whether Republicans would move toward the center on immigration: “Months after GOP leaders began signaling that the party would shift positions on immigration in response to their shellacking in the November election, Republicans are still working out their stance.” The Post website carried a similar line from an AP article:
The good news: President Obama is finally getting some scrutiny in the liberal media. The bad news: The scrutiny is usually from Obama's left and on absurd matters such as the diversity of the president's Cabinet, as judged by skin color and sex organs.
Take today's Washington Post, which devoted 21 paragraphs on page A7 to "Obama's bypassing of women for Defense, CIA posts." The "[c]hoice of white men disappointing to those who call for diversity," lamented the subheader to David Nakamura's January 8 story. Nakamura opened his article by observing "some critics noticed one thing that stood out" when President Obama "brought his Pentagon and CIA chiefs together Monday with their potential replacements... Each of them was a white man."
On Saturday, President Obama spoke at a campaign rally in Wisconsin. As I noted on Sunday, contradicting a local Milwaukee Sentinel crowd size estimate of 5,000, Politico, the Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press reported that 18,000 were on hand, with the AP further claiming that the event was "the largest yet of Obama's reelection campaign."
Charles Spiering at the Washington Examiner believes he has learned why the national press reported that the crowd was 18,000. It's because Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told them it was, and the press's pool reporter took his word for it:
"President Obama used conservative arguments against judicial activism to urge justices to uphold the law," a teaser headline on the bottom of today's Washington Post front page notes, directing readers to page A4 for the story by staffer David Nakamura.
Nakamura dutifully opened his story noting that Obama said in a Rose Garden press conference yesterday that if the Court overturns ObamaCare in the HHS v. Florida case, that it would "amount to an 'unprecedented, extraordinary step' of judicial activism." Yet nowhere in the 18-paragraph story did Nakamura lay out exactly how Obama's argument was conservative in nature nor did he cite a single conservative constitutional or legal expert to agree with Obama.
One web site devoted to "fighting the smears" (i.e., pretending that what is true really isn't) apparently isn't enough for Barack Obama's reelection campaign. There are now three, plus so-called "truth teams" of activists whose mission it will be to serve as rapid-response purveyors of what will likely heaping helpings of fabricated refutations.
This news is now officially 24 hours old; its first appearance, at least per Google News, came via the Washington Post and appeared at the web site of the Minneapolis Star Tribune shortly after midnight Monday morning. To no one's surprise, a search of the Associated Press's national site on "Obama truth" (not in quotes) returns nothing relevant, as does an advanced search at the New York Times on "Obama truth team" (also not in quotes). Here are key paragraphs from David Nakamura's story as it appeared at the Washington Post:
Washington Post scribes David Nakamura and Felicia Sonmez dutifully set out today to paint President Obama as the hero of the masses for his "bold act of political defiance" in naming "Richard Cordray as head a new consumer watchdog agency Wednesday, bypassing Republican opposition in the Senate that derailed his nomination last month."
Nakamura and Sonmez waited until the 10th paragraph in their 33-paragraph page A1 story to get to the Republican side of the argument, that "precedent, over the past two decades, has been that no president can make such an appointment during a recess of less than 10 days."
That civility thing which Democrats and the Left thought to be all-important earlier this year is sooooo January. Unless it changes its stripes overnight, the incivility and hostility on display today in Detroit, which hasn't been seen much in establishment press reports to this point, won't appear on the Big 3 Networks' morning shows tomorrow. The American people really need to see what has become of the labor movement, and the type of behavior its head cheerleader in the White House condones.
While I wouldn't hold my breath for say Chris Matthews to notice, the story works against the mainstream media portrayal of the Obama inauguration as such a must-attend historic event that the nation's capital will be deluged with visitors hoping to get as close as they can to Obama's radiant aura (emphasis mine):
"I'm blown away by how little demand there is," said Tania Odabashian, vice president at Corporate Apartment Specialists in Northern Virginia.
"Initially, we were flooded with calls from people looking for [inaugural] housing. For about four or five days, the phone would not stop ringing. . . . But now we have apartments as low as $150 a night that we can't get rid of. I've rented one two-bedroom in Tysons Corner. We have six or seven apartments inside the Beltway that will probably end up empty."
The District of Columbia is going to the Supreme Court to protect its 1976 law that effectively disarmed its crime-plagued law-abiding civilian populace. In addition to an editorial cheering on the appeal, Washington's largest broadsheet is all to happy to skew its front-page coverage accordingly.
In their September 5 article "D.C. Case Could Shape Gun Laws," reporters Robert Barnes and David Nakamura quoted from gun ban proponents Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) and D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer as they laid out their arguments for the gun ban. Only one opponent of the gun ban was quoted, and even then his ink was wasted on explaining his next move: