Press Secretary Robert Gibbs approached White House reporters earlier this year in an attempt to end the long-standing practice of sourcing claims to anonymous administration officials, he told CNN on Sunday.
During that meeting with the press corps, Gibbs offered correspondents a no-background policy, in which the White House would only give on-the-record interviews if reporters promised not to cite unnamed sources, he explained to host Howard Kurtz in an interview on “Reliable Sources.”
HAHAHA… (repeat for five minutes, interspersed with multiple pauses for breath, attempts to regain composure, and resumption of laughter)
Mind you, I’m not laughing at Gibbs. He was not a fool for suggesting that the press give up its best method for circumventing White House message discipline; he thought that the press are collectively fool enough to actually take him up on the offer, and why not? Individual journalists are already being accused of being complicit in trading access in exchange for good coverage; stretching that into a shape pleasing to a currently-hypothetical Ministry of Information Management sounds perfectly reasonable. Assuming that you’re a Democratic press flack uninterested in anything that happens after your boss is out of office, that is.
You know, for all the media whining that took place about the last administration, Bush showed an infinitely larger amount of respect to the press (definitely a larger portion than most of his party wish that he had). And the reason for that was obvious: he had to, because he knew that the media wanted to bite him. The Obama administration thinks that this dynamic no longer applies… and until it does, they’ll continue to treat the press like spoiled and not particularly bright children.
And on the day that the press finally snaps and wreaks a bloody revenge, I promise that I’ll laugh even harder at Gibbs.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.