Checking out the official Web page for the Obama administration today, I noticed that the White House has removed the "pool reports" entry from the "Briefing Room" lineup roughly six days after the White House press corps made clear it would not fork over the pool reports to the White House. The page itself, which of course lacks any pool reports, is still accessible here.
As of noon this 27th day of January -- the 7th of the brilliant glory of the Obama era -- the daily press briefings are still lacking on whitehouse.gov. See my January 23 blog post about that here.
Weekly Standard's Mary Katharine Ham added her thoughts in a post to her magazine's blog yesterday, noting that the absence of press briefings is a continuation of the Obama's online communication strategy which was "built for message control, not openness" (emphasis mine):
Of the 1,800 YouTube videos at Obama's channel, precious few include questions from town halls and other unscripted events. The channel is a vehicle for Obama's speeches and commercials, not questions or debate.
WhiteHouse.gov looks like it will have a similar philosophy. The "briefing room," which ironically has no information on White House briefings, offers Obama's "Weekly Video Address," photo slideshows, text of executive orders, and press releases on nominees, and a blog updated only with Obama statements and official proclamations. I suppose transcripts could eventually be going here, in the "pool report" section, which I'm reasonably sure didn't exist until this weekend or today, and is not listed as a section of the "briefing room" at the bottom of the page in the index. I wonder if it's a response to complaints about the lack of transcripts, which would explain why it has no content yet.
All old links to White House press briefings will take you only to the bland "briefing room," and do not redirect to archived versions of transcripts. This wasn't really the Obama administration's responsibility, but it's generally considered annoying in Internet circles, and likely impairs a bunch of old, earnest lefty blogger diatribes that used Scott McClellan as inspiration.
It's enough to make you long for the openness and transparency of the Bush administration.I doubt the liberal media, particularly the traditional MSM, will care much about the inconvenience to bloggers or that the lack of archiving is a departure from standard operating procedure for the Bush administration's communications shop. But it may be a matter of time before liberal and conservative bloggers alike put enough pressure on the Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs to force a change in policy, although even then I'm not holding my breath for YouTube videos and/or audio recordings of the daily briefings to be posted on the WhiteHouse.gov site.