Warner Todd Huston
Obama's WH Chief of Staff holds daily, secret calls with pals in media
By Warner Todd Huston
January 30, 2009

Politico reports that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel holds daily chit chat sessions with several Old Media pals every morning to start his day. Apparently Emanuel has for years been involved with daily bull sessions to plan media coverage and ideological strategy with CNN's James Carville and Paul Begala, as well as ABC's George Stephanopoulos, with the occasional participation of pollster Stan Greenberg. But there is one little problem with this daily palling around with mediots these days: Emanuel now works for the White House.

As Politico's John Harris notes, "in any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington's prevailing political and media interpretation — at least on the Democratic side — is being hatched on these calls." In light of this early morning scheming, one has to wonder where the supposed autonomy of the media is if they are being programmed by the Obama White House in off the record, secret and daily conversations? Where is their objectivity if these media mavens are all assisting Emanuel mould and shape the news to further a specific ideological goal?

Even worse, where are the people that would normally decry a chummy, personal and secretive relationship between Emanuel, a partisan government operative recently called the second most powerful man in Washington, and major members of the Old Media? Where's the outrage that the Obama administration is secretly programming media coverage?

Ed Morrissey of HotAir reminds us of the Old Media outcry that was raised when it was thought that the Pentagon held briefings for analysts that reported on military affairs.

Last April, The New York Times rebuked the Pentagon for offering information to analysts as a sort of breach of the public trust and reported the angry words of Democrat Ike Skelton (D- MO) on the matter.

    Representative Ike Skelton, Democrat of Missouri and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a speech on Thursday that he and many other members of Congress were "very angry" about the issues raised by the article. "The story does not reflect well on the Pentagon, on the military analysts in question, or on the media organizations that employ them," he said.

As Skelton said in April, the cozy relationship the TV analysts had with the Pentagon called those analyst's veracity into question. If this concept was true last April, then the same absolutely must be said of Carville, Begala and Greenberg, and even more so of ABC's George Stephanopoulos who is supposed to be a "news" man as opposed to an opinionist as Carville and Begala are.

After all, if we were expected to discount the military analysts because of their close relationship with the Pentagon, we absolutely have to view these supposed news guys with the same jaundiced eye since they are in daily, secret conversations with the President's Chief of Staff.

So, we should be expecting CNN and ABC to announce their embarrassment that their purported "news" men are being so co-opted, right? We must be ready at any time to hear people say that Stan Greenburg's work is forever compromised and untrustworthy, right? We must be on the verge of apologies by all four men for allowing their veracity to be called into question because of their cozy relationship with the Obama White House... right?

If not, then why not? Where is the proper level of outrage?


Could it be?

Could it maybe be that these "news" agencies don't care if their news men are being co-opted by the White House because it's THIS White House? One run by a Democrat. And a White House run by The One, at that?

Well, I for one, am calling for ABC and CNN to fire Carville, Begala and Stephanopoulos as well as for everyone to stop considering Greenberg's work worthy of attention. Short of firing the three TV newsers, the networks should tell their employees to cease and desist with these secret planning sessions with the White House and issue apologies to the viewers for not informing them of this secret pipeline to power.

How can we believe that Carville, Begala and especially Stephanopoulos will be informing us of what is really going on since we are now aware that they have been daily joining a powerful member of the Democratic Party in ideological strategizing? How can we believe that we are getting anything other than the Party line directly from Barack Obama instead of unbiased news when these three men speak to us from our TVs?

Fire Carville, Begal and Stephanopoulos now. They have sold out to Obama and cannot be trusted to report the news to the viewing public.

(Image credit: politico.com)

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites... (more)

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