How press complaints about lack of access to Obama’s golf outing backfired
In a way, the golf dust-up, however insignificant, was a legitimate affront to Henry and the “broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV” whom he spoke for on Sunday. Think of it this way: The press corps had flown with the president to Florida on President’s Day Weekend and gone 48 hours without so much as a scrap of news. Then, while kept outside The Floridian National Golf Club like dogs not allowed inside, they started reading the news they were supposed to be reporting from a Golf Digest reporter inside the club house. Many a federal case was made over that sort of behavior during the Republican primaries, to be sure.
And yet Henry and his colleagues are ultimately responsible for choosing to act when they did. How did a body of seasoned journalists familiar with the rules of the modern-day news cycle not see that this issue would blow up in their faces? How did they not think to channel the frustrations felt in Florida to a legitimate protest over a more substantive issue?
Henry tried that today. At the daily press briefing, he raised the issue of access and transparency — not in regard to the golf outing, mind you, but in regard to President Obama’s forthcoming meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. …
It was too late. As soon as Henry prefaced his question with the word “access,” Carney was digging around in his breast pocket and briefing book for the transparency talking points: 35 solo news conferences, 591 interviews, etc.