More reporters grumbling about nasty treatment from White House

You can tell the New York Post is a right-leaning paper from the fact that Maureen Callahan didn’t include the standard “I’m sure the president would disapprove if he knew!” disclaimer that no one actually believes.

Incidentally, how many anecdotes about persistent abusiveness from the White House towards reporters will it take before the Lightbringer no longer gets the benefit of the doubt about his supposed ignorance? You’ve got people as reliably left as Jonathan Alter complaining here, for cripes sake.

“I had a young reporter asking tough, important questions of an Obama Cabinet secretary,” says one DC veteran. “She was doing her job, and they were trying to bully her. In an e-mail, they called her the vilest names — bitch, c–t, a–hole.” He complained and was told the matter would be investigated: “They were hemming and hawing, saying, ‘We’ll look into it.’ Nothing happened.”…

One correspondent says that when he inquired about a staging choice for the president’s speech, he was steamrolled. “There was one specific White House aide calling me up, yelling and screaming,” he says. “It was condescending and abrasive: ‘Why is this a story? Why are you doing this? This is of no consequence. You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.’”

This went on for two days. “All I wanted,” says the reporter, “was an answer to a question. It’s not like I was looking to do a 12-page exposé to take down an aide. It was unnecessary vociferousness.” He eventually got his statement.

Another White House correspondent says that last week’s blowup over pool reporters’ access to the president’s golf game with Tiger Woods — which was none — is indicative of a larger problem. “Today’s a perfect example,” he says. “Jack Lew is sworn in” — as US Treasury secretary, on Thursday — “and they didn’t even allow a photographer in there. A reporter asked [press secretary] Jay Carney why, and his answer was, ‘It’s a family ceremony.’ No! This is a high-ranking government official whose salary is paid for by taxpayers. No.”

Why the extra jerkiness towards the press that’s always given them flowery coverage? One theory in Callahan’s piece is that they’re jerky because they can afford to be: In the age of YouTube and cameo Oscar appearances, the White House doesn’t need the media if it wants face time with the public. There’s truth to that, but I think it’s also a function of the basic “adult in the room versus the most radical wingnuts since Goldwater” message that Team Hopenchange has been pushing since 2009 (or even before). When a reporter challenges the White House, especially when they (wittingly or unwittingly) ventilate a Republican criticism of O in doing so, they’re undermining the “reasonable” party in Washington and aiding and abetting a side that the White House wants the public to see as fundamentally unreasonable and illegitimate. Every bit of negative coverage they get from the media, unless it’s from the left, lends a tiny bit of credence to the GOP, and of course it’s unconscionable to lend credence to “extremism” — especially if, as a member of the media, you’re supposed to be on the left’s team. So when Obama draws media scrutiny, it’s not just that the press is being unhelpful to the Democrats’ agenda. It’s that they’re delivering the country into the hands of the tea partiers who want to destroy blah blah blah. If you viewed the world that way, or rather if you wanted the rest of the world to view the world that way, then you’d be mighty irritable too when, say, some reporter reminded the public that not only did your boss sign the sequester into law, he actually proposed the damned thing.

Speaking of which, here’s Jay Carney throwing a jab at George Will at today’s briefing. Although in Carney’s defense, he did this only after he’d been hit by a roundhouse.