I could have sworn that they pulled something like this before and that we blogged it at the time, but an archives search turns up empty, alas. Team Barry assuredly has barred the press from some White House events — including events dedicated to … the press — but posting their own homemade media coverage may be a new step. Any theories on why The One might not have wanted to deal with reporters’ questions today? Hmmmm:

Freezing out TV cameras and reporters ensures that Obama won’t be asked nettlesome questions–say, about the very delicate state of health care reform on Capitol Hill. (The major networks have a generally-observed policy of not permitting their cameras into an event without a reporter or producer present who can choose to ask a question if he or she sees fit.)

Sometimes allowing a White House camera to capture an event gives the public a window on moments that the press didn’t see, but it also gives the White House great latitude to manipulate the president’s images and words as his aides see fit. One other note: White Houses have used military personnel to take official videos of events for decades, but such images were rarely, if ever, released in real time. The Obama White House has a staff videographer who came over from the campaign and produces material for use on the White House website.

Tony Fratto, Dubya’s former deputy press secretary, claims that the news networks refused to air this footage tonight lest it compromise their integrity. As amusing as we may find the idea of major media balking at coverage that’s too slanted towards The One, can anyone confirm that? Anyone seen bits or pieces of this footage on the tube tonight? The bill was the “Travel Promotion Act,” so it’s not like Brian Williams was going to bump ObamaCare coverage for it anyway.

Update: No wonder I had deja vu — they have indeed done this before.