Guest Post by Kristinn Taylor
In another revelation in David Remnick’s epic New Yorker profile of President Barack Obama, the president admits to trying to control media coverage of his administration.
In the interview Obama soft pedals his team’s Maoist-style approach to the media, which includes spying on and threatening reporters and their families as well as coordinating campaigns targeting perceived opponents in talk radio and the media, specifically the Fox News Channel.
“…And so a lot of the tensions that have existed between my White House and the press are inherent in the institution. The press always wants more, and every White House, including ours, is trying to make sure that the things that we care most about are what’s being reported on, and that we’re not on any given day chasing after fifteen story lines.”
Obama made his comments in the context of being asked by Remnick about the incongruity of Obama honoring former Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee of Watergate fame with a Presidential Medal of Freedom while targeting reporters and self-proclaimed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in leak investigations. Remnick did not mention that reporter Bob Woodward, also of the Post’s Watergate fame, claimed to have been threatened by an Obama official.
Fox News Channel host ’ Greta Van Susteren wrote at Gretawire this week that the Obama administration tried to block the network’s reporting on the September 11, 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans.
While the Obama-protecting media accused Woodward of exaggerating, it is worth noting that the White House official, Gene Sperling, used similar language as to that reported by Van Susteren in a similar threat.
Sperling: ”Bob: I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.
“But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim…”
“I remembered a disturbing phone call from a good friend in the Obama Administration. I have known this friend for years. The call was a short time after 9/11 (maybe Oct. 2012?) In the call, my friend told me that my colleague Jennifer Griffin, who was aggressively reporting on Benghazi, was wrong and that, as a favor to me, my friend in the Administration was telling me so that I could tell Jennifer so that she did not ruin her career. My friend was telling me to tell Jennifer to stop her reporting. Ruin her career?”
Obama’s ‘everybody does it’ claim is belied by Van Susteren: “In 20 plus years, I have never received a call to try and shut down a colleague – not that I even could – this was a first. “