It took the threat of FCC monitoring to wake the press corps to the fact that they too were subject to the duplicitous policies typically reserved for the right. Only until the White House limited access to the President and gave their choicest media darlings invites to private meetings at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue did the loyal left begin to realize that subjugation applied to them as well.
Cast off, vexed and left stupefied by the President’s insolence, the press corps drafted a letter of protest to the White House Press Secretary.
37 jilted journalists, videographers and editors from the White House Correspondents’ Association and the American Society of Newspaper Editors filed a formal complaint to the White House Press Secretary for “routinely being denied the right to photograph or videotape the president while he is performing his official duties.” The response from the “most transparent administration in history” – political quieting in the form of FCC servility.
The press corps, grown so accustomed to excoriating their perceived political adversaries on the right, have become immune to the fact that, willing or not, they are perceived by this President as part of a constitutional endowment that this President so loathes. Though the press corps does not perceive themselves as such, it is of no consequence to the one who perceives the constitution and the freedoms enlisted as an impediment to be quieted, broken and conquered on the march towards post-nationalism.
It is the President who perceives any form of constitutionality as a threat, to whom the tactics of polarization and insularity must be applied. Former friends and useful idiots are casualties of consequence; for he knows no other form of politics.
Gone are the days of spirited exchange between President and press corps that the American public has come to expect. Glimpses of humor have been replaced with sneers as conservative correspondents are curtly charged with accusations of “reasserting GOP talking points” whenever clarification is sought.
On the rare occasion when a conscientious objector arises on the left, she is schooled as a petulant child in front of her colleagues for questioning the party line. (Google the exchange between former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and April Ryan of American Urban Radio.)
Gone are the days of the President personally addressing his objectors to a President so averse to scrutiny that he defers all questions to his Press Secretary.
We’ve gone from “Well, there you go again Sam,” to “Talk to Jay.”
Every sitting President has had an adversarial, in some cases openly hostile, relationship with the press – that is until recent memory. Dismissals and heavy-handedness formerly reserved for Fox, Rush and the citizen journalist are becoming more and more commonplace among the favorited.
Decades of advocating for one party rule and thwarting opposition opinion have dulled the left’s senses or even the will to call out high-handedness on the part of their benefactor. They do little to exert themselves while repression is applied to the opposition party; in fact it is celebrated. It is when audacity is applied to them is it then seen as gall.
Spoiled and complacent, forgotten is their original charter to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
Only when their power is gone will the press begin to grasp the folly of propping up one party rule.
Doubtful that the spirit of competition among journalists and individual thought will catch on given the press’ proclivity towards communism, perhaps a West Wing Spring of sorts is necessary to safeguard what remains of our disaffected press corps.