Thursday, February 03, 2005

Adventures in Controlling the Media IV

I'm starting to think there could be a book written about the Bush administration's attempts to undermine the idea of an independent press. I also wonder how much of this went on under Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, etc.

Today's installment: seems that one of the White House correspondents who Bush calls on a lot is there because he's a right-wing journalist who asks softball questions. The culprit is Jeff Gannon of TalonNews.com, and his questions involve the occasional reference to Democratic leaders being "divorced from reality" and the occasional comparison of John Kerry to Jane Fonda. And while the most pressing issue here is undoubtedly the scary thought of a John Kerry exercise video (to the left! to the right! to the left! to the right!), it's still worrisome that the Bush White House is so scared of the media that they want to control even the mood in the press room. Seriously, I don't know that there's been any administration this paranoid since Nixon.

The Boston Globe has the story here, but I think it runs out tomorrow and you have to pay for it. A simple Web search on "Jeff Gannon" oughta reveal something, or I can e-mail you the article.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, I don't see what's so bad about this one. The bribing of journalists and the censoring of PBS...bad. But calling on journalists who agree with you? Now if he ONLY called on journalists who agreed with him, maybe.

But one wacko does not a press room make. There are journalists of all stripes there and if Bush wants to field a favorable question, let him.

There's far worse and more insidious ways to control the media and Bush's peeps have used them all.

- Ben

Anonymous said...

Ben continues....

Oh, speaking of once again scheduling your social life on your blog....Jacob's coming into town tomorrow. We all should get together this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Certainly, all presidents will call on reporters favorable to them as often as not. The more serious issue I would worry about here is whether the Bush White House is stacking the White House Prexx Corps. There are only a certain number of reporters who are accredited for the White House Corps. If the Bushies are withholding accreditation from legitimate news outlets or reporters in order to provide political support through accreditation of phony journalists who will prime their political pump, then there is legitimate cause for concern. Obviously, the White House has the authority to accredit whomever they wish, but I am sure we all hope that those who receive the imprimatur have at least a vague association with legitimate news outlets.

- Woodhead Pere

Jacob Grier said...

Yes, do as Ben says! Today we shall engage in merriment!

Anonymous said...

Yes! Merriment! Lots and lots of merriment! We'll engage in it. And stuff.

Jeff, did you try to call me at 11:36 last night? Is it actually possible I slept through a cell phone ringing right next to my bed? Wow.

Hi Mr. Woodhead. Good to hear from you.

- Ben

Anonymous said...

wow, my history teacher would love 2 tlk w/ u

Jeff said...

Um... who are you, and who's your history teacher?

Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,

Good to "talk" to you. Hope L school is going well. I remember what fun it was. Talk to you soon I hope.

Sorry to use your Blog space, Jeff, for personal communiques - comunikaes - commacutakays. Oh well.

Wood elder