Friday, August 13, 2010

The Alinsky-ing of the media continues

By Donald Sensing

They told me that if I voted for McCain there would be secret meetings between the president and the media. And they were right!

In October of last year I posted, "Attack on Fox News right out of Alinsky playbook," an analysis of the White house press office's overt attacks against Fox News Channel.

The post's title came from the teaching of Barack Obama's mentor, Saul Alinsky, who in his book, Rules for Radicals, wrote that one of the rules of "power tactics" is to, "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

I observed,

The White House wants the other media to think that its fight is with FoxNews exclusively, hoping they won't see that the real fight is with all media.

The other media may expect to be flattered as "real" reporters and news organizations who are actually the ones being "fair and balanced." The more a White House reporters and editors toe the White House line, the greater access they will be granted, especially to power figures such as Rahm Emmanuel, David Axelrod and, ultimately, Barack Obama himself ... . Reporters who don't fall into place will discover they are being frozen out of access and will have to rely exclusively on press briefer Robert Gibbs, which is the kiss of death to a White House reporter.
And so it has come to pass. First a Drudge headlinette:

And the story thereto, "Which White House reporters had lunch with Obama?" on The Upshot:
Reporters wouldn't say Thursday who joined President Obama for an off-the-record lunch at the White House. ...

Here's the lineup: Ben Feller (Associated Press), Jonathan Weisman and Laura Meckler (Wall Street Journal), Michael Shear and Scott Wilson (Washington Post), Caren Bohan (Reuters), David Jackson (USA Today), Carol Lee (Politico), Peter Nicholas (Tribune Co.), Margaret Talev (McClatchy) and Julianna Goldman (Bloomberg).

Several reporters on this list gave "no comments" to The Upshot on Thursday.

The New York Times was invited but did not attend. White House reporter Peter Baker told The Upshot that the paper "politely declined because we'd like very much to talk on the record."
I hate to say I told you so, but I ... oh, forget it.

So the New York Times reporter had the integrity to say no. How about that?

PS - The WSJ's OpinionJournal picked up on my Alinsky post and ran with it, with editor James Taranto adding commentary of his own along those lines in, "Rules for Presidents."