There seems to be an increasing drumbeat in Washington which is focusing on the new, camera shy tendencies of the President. This was previously noted here when Barack Obama began taking nothing but softball interviews and reportedly even turned down an interview with Mr. Thrill Up My Leg. (He might have been worried that Matthews would ask him about how Bo was doing, leading to the inevitable questions about what the first family had for dinner the previous evening.)
By yesterday it seems that even his biggest supporters – a.k.a. the White House press corps – had had enough.
Reporters at the White House on Friday asked spokesman Josh Earnest about the lack of an official Obama press conference. They also complained that while Obama has done a series of interviews, he has mostly fielded softball questions from outlets like People.
Earnest said he didn’t have any scheduling announcements but argued that Obama has “spent a lot of time answering questions from reporters all over the country,” including a “wide range of outlets.”
At least one analysis finds that this isn’t any sort of “fight or flight” mode panic, but rather a calculated campaign move. Think of it as, “Obama’s Soft Media Strategy.”
This isn’t a mistake. Even at the height of a campaign in which they’ve been firing hard at Mitt Romney and trying to keep hold of the news cycle, Obama’s reelection staffers are pretty sure most voters aren’t tuning in.
“People get their news in many different ways,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told POLITICO. “Sometimes it’s turning on ‘Entertainment Tonight’ and seeing what the latest news is out there.”
Psaki said the president will be doing a variety of media appearances in the coming weeks with both national and local outlets, but for now, “We’re reaching an audience that may not be paying attention to the day-to-day political back and forth.”
I see. So you’re trying to reach a different audience. Well, I suppose that would be an audience of People Who Don’t Care About Politics. Or, were we to look at it another way, they might be, People Who Aren’t Very Likely To Vote. You’ve really got a crack team at the wheel there, champ. But if nothing else, it should provide some fluffy amusement for the rest of us until the silly season of summer winds to a close.