Two nice turns here in less than 60 seconds. First he complains that the Fox News brouhaha is a distraction from more important issues, neglecting to mention that (a) a distraction would be very welcome in the White House right now and (b) his own communications director was dispatched to CNN not to talk about those issues but to drone on and on about the alleged distraction. Then he insists that all Axelrod and Emanuel said is that the White House will hold adversarial media outlets to a different standard, which of course is a lie by omission. What they actually said was that other media outlets should hold Fox to a different standard too. Way to whitewash, champ.
I’m giving you the clip of him followed by a clip of the boss posing three questions about The One’s war on FNC, one of which involves his off-the-record briefing on Monday with select “journalists.” We finally have the complete guest list. Behold the roster of “President Approved Punditry”:
The White House has sent TVNewser the complete list of those who attended the off-the-record briefing Monday: Eugene Robinson, E.J. Dionne, Ron Brownstein, John Dickerson, Rachel Maddow, Frank Rich, Jerry Seib, Maureen Dowd, Keith Olbermann, Bob Herbert, Gloria Borger, and Gwen Ifill. Several members of the staff also attended.
Tapper noted earlier on Twitter that Bush used to bring in friendly pundits for chats too, which is true (I mentioned it in my first post about the briefing) but also is beside the point. The One’s sin here isn’t holding off-the-record huddles with superpartisans like Olby and Frank Rich — although it certainly does make a mockery of his wheezing about “transparency” — but doing it smack dab in the midst of an administration lecture on how opinion programming can render a news organization illegitimate. Simple question: Is MSNBC any less like talk radio than Fox? If not, why is the White House asking the media to shun one while inviting the other to the Oval Office? And if the answer to that is as easy as we all think, can we finally drop the pathetic pretense about Hopenchange’s aspirations to post-partisanship?