'How the media sucks up to the White House'

Rick Moran
You mean besides having an ideological affinity for the president's policies and getting a tingle up their leg every time The One speaks?

That's only half the story, friends. It seems the White House Press Poodles also like to write glowing profiles of staffers - all the better to soften them up in order to use them as sources later on.

It's called a "beat sweetener" - a time honored custom at the White House that pays big dividends down the road:

But this proliferation of profiles isn’t about the reader’s need to know, or at least not entirely. It’s also about reporters’ need to introduce themselves to and ingratiate themselves with the White House officials they’ll need as sources over the next four years. 

It’s far easier for a reporter to get time with a key staffer when both parties know that a flattering profile is coming. And it’s a lot easier to get calls returned from the staffer’s colleagues — especially subordinates — if they know it’s an opportunity to suck up to the subject. 

Jonathan Alter, a senior editor at Newsweek, describes the beat sweetener as “a tribal custom” among the press corps. 

“It’s emblematic of the way Washington journalism often works,” Alter said, noting that the problem is when a reporter “puts the ease of their working relationship ahead of the interests of the reader.” 

Ain't that the truth?

Much more than the "ease of their working relationship," the media feels comfortable writing these puff pieces because they agree with the president's politics.

Yes - it's that simple. And trying to obfuscate that fact by couching media bias in the form of a gambit to curry favor with future sources is pretty lame. Even for Politico.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky


You mean besides having an ideological affinity for the president's policies and getting a tingle up their leg every time The One speaks?

That's only half the story, friends. It seems the White House Press Poodles also like to write glowing profiles of staffers - all the better to soften them up in order to use them as sources later on.

It's called a "beat sweetener" - a time honored custom at the White House that pays big dividends down the road:

But this proliferation of profiles isn’t about the reader’s need to know, or at least not entirely. It’s also about reporters’ need to introduce themselves to and ingratiate themselves with the White House officials they’ll need as sources over the next four years. 

It’s far easier for a reporter to get time with a key staffer when both parties know that a flattering profile is coming. And it’s a lot easier to get calls returned from the staffer’s colleagues — especially subordinates — if they know it’s an opportunity to suck up to the subject. 

Jonathan Alter, a senior editor at Newsweek, describes the beat sweetener as “a tribal custom” among the press corps. 

“It’s emblematic of the way Washington journalism often works,” Alter said, noting that the problem is when a reporter “puts the ease of their working relationship ahead of the interests of the reader.” 

Ain't that the truth?

Much more than the "ease of their working relationship," the media feels comfortable writing these puff pieces because they agree with the president's politics.

Yes - it's that simple. And trying to obfuscate that fact by couching media bias in the form of a gambit to curry favor with future sources is pretty lame. Even for Politico.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky