Message Managed

Okay, look. Here’s how it happened, according to my understanding: The White House called up Nico Pitney at HuffPo, who has been covering (aggregating, blogging, collecting info from all over and processing it, whatever you want to call it, he’s doing a job at least as hard as that of any nightly news producer or rewrite desk, so just calm down, son) the sitch in Iran apparently very admirably and well. The White House calls and says, “Hey, come to the news conference, you might get called on, ask a question from an Iranian.” It’s all over the Internet for hours that Iranians and anybody, really, can ask the president something through Pitney.

Pitney goes, gets called on, asks a pretty damn tough question (though it was certainly no “Mr. President, should we pray?”) and the reaction among the Washington Press Corps is not, “Hey, this guy’s making us look dumb, and maybe we should think of this stuff in advance instead of just losing it and having to bug Obama about his smoking.” Instead it’s OMG STAGE-MANAGING DISHONESTY BLOGGERZ HALP WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE OH GOD.

So I had to cast back into our archives forthis, which Holden highlighted:

It was then, more than a year and a half ago, that Pfeiffer
received an e-mail from someone claiming to be a citizen of South
Dakota, wanting to know the Daschle campaign’s reaction to a story by
“Jeff Gannon.”

The concerned “citizen of South Dakota” turned out to be Gannon
himself, as the Daschle campaign quickly uncovered by tracking the
e-mail account from which the query had been sent, “”
That e-mail address led Daschle campaign staffers to Gannon’s AOL
website, at which point the entire campaign became instantly aware that
Gannon, then a White House correspondent for “Talon News,” had
attempted to deceive them. This incident, combined with Gannon’s
“reporting” of the 2004 general election in South Dakota and the sheer
oddity of his website, prompted the Daschle campaign to conclude Gannon
was not a legitimate reporter.

In fact, said Pfeiffer, in the summer of 2003 there was “not a
single minute” the campaign thought Gannon was a real journalist.

Nor did the campaign keep this information to themselves.

According to Pfeiffer, the campaign sent Gannon’s website address
and news of his attempted deceit of the Daschle camp to several

They couldn’t have cared less. Why is that? Is it just because the idea of a professional, erm, escort in the White House briefing room was so outlandish nobody believed it? Or is that they just didn’t care that much back then? If there’s one thing that consistently bugs the shit out of me about the news organizations that like to crow about setting our national democratic standards and dictating the political agenda, it’s how they pretend not to have anything to do with anything once a question of their actual words and deeds comes up.

In what you choose to cover and not cover, you are managing the message just as much as Obama, by calling on or not calling on someone, is. To pretend otherwise and get all Like A Virgin about it is just stupid. Just sack up and admit that you make the choices, you and no one else. Deciding what you want people to focus on is what you’re supposed to be doing, and it’s what Obama’s supposed to be doing, and for that matter it’s what Republicans are supposed to be doing. This is kind of how it’s always worked.

You made a choice when you sat on the Gannon story because WE’RE AT WAR and POPULAR WARTIME PREZNIT and such, and you’re making a big deal of Pitney because you fucking feel like it. I may not agree with you but at least that way I’ll respect your honesty.


4 thoughts on “Message Managed

  1. yes, butbutbut now they are TRYING to get tough on A president. a NON 9/11 preznit who is fair game and and and is a democrat. and and and sure gannon was a ho, but he wasn’t a BLOGGER!

  2. When I was in my early 20s and some bullshitapaloooza like this came up at work (or, more likely, in the wait for Commander’s Call to commence), I’d stomp off muttering, “I’d give a damn but that’s more energy than I want to waste on Strategic Air Command.”
    (You have to be a SAC-trained killer to understand the angst/ irony / ennui that phrase encapsulated …)
    For this kerfuffle of self-ennobling media types? I can’t muster a bad rhyme.

  3. They’re a bunch of self-important assholes. Really, I think it’s that simple. There’s something in the water. Think Chuck Todd. From mostly astute political analyst to self-important asshole because of a single promotion. Unfortunately, said self-important assholes have a great deal of control over debate in this country.
    By the way, who’s Holden?

  4. Yes, this.
    The Drama Queens (because it’s always about them) got one upped – the blogger made them look bad. The horror. Do they do their job? Hell no.
    They just proceed to suck more. Because of course, with everything that is going on right now, the most important thing is that some outsider not be doing the job their supposed to be doing.

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