Huffington Hypocrisy: 'It's OK for us to do it.'

With a change in directions so sharp that it could give observers whiplash, Arianna Huffington is defending the carefully orchestrated question posed by a Huffington Post writer at the presidential news conference last week. After braying criticism during the Bush administration over perceived coziness between the press and the White House, she is now defending the HuffPo's hand in glove--or should I say, hand on keyboard--cooperation with the Obama White House.

In case you're unaware, the White House notified the HuffPo's Nico Pitney the night before Obama's presser to be ready to ask a question. 

Indeed, after the obligatory acknowledgement of the senior wire correspondent, the first optional question went, most unusually, not to the usual suspects seated around the presidential teleprompter, but to Pitney, who was standing in the aisles.  

Peter Maer of CBS Radio, who's covered every president since Jimmy Carter, called the coordinated ploy,  "the unprecedented step of planting a designated hitter in the briefing room."

"That never happens," according to Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times. 

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank
"The use of planted questioners is a no-no at presidential news conferences, because it sends a message to the world. Iran included that the American press isn't as free as advertised."

Huffington defended the coordination between HuffPo and the Obama White House, calling the scripted performance, "an exciting moment for new media and citizen engagement.
"It's a pity so many in the traditional media didn't get it."

But Huffington had a far different take when it was the Bush White House trying to win cooperation from the news media, writing in 2006: 
"reporters have lost sight of the fact that their mission is to uncover the truth -- not slip between the covers with the powers-that-be. Far too many on the Washington beat have traded their press pass for an all-access White House pass -- and, in doing so, have sacrificed their duty to the public for entry to the halls of power."

Now, in its eagerness to cooperate with Obama, Huffington's liberal online publication has sunk even lower than that, trading its scant objectivity and independence, not for "an all-access White House pass", but merely for a temporary press pass

Were thirty pieces of silver not offered?

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author
With a change in directions so sharp that it could give observers whiplash, Arianna Huffington is defending the carefully orchestrated question posed by a Huffington Post writer at the presidential news conference last week. After braying criticism during the Bush administration over perceived coziness between the press and the White House, she is now defending the HuffPo's hand in glove--or should I say, hand on keyboard--cooperation with the Obama White House.

In case you're unaware, the White House notified the HuffPo's Nico Pitney the night before Obama's presser to be ready to ask a question. 

Indeed, after the obligatory acknowledgement of the senior wire correspondent, the first optional question went, most unusually, not to the usual suspects seated around the presidential teleprompter, but to Pitney, who was standing in the aisles.  

Peter Maer of CBS Radio, who's covered every president since Jimmy Carter, called the coordinated ploy,  "the unprecedented step of planting a designated hitter in the briefing room."

"That never happens," according to Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times. 

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank
"The use of planted questioners is a no-no at presidential news conferences, because it sends a message to the world. Iran included that the American press isn't as free as advertised."

Huffington defended the coordination between HuffPo and the Obama White House, calling the scripted performance, "an exciting moment for new media and citizen engagement.
"It's a pity so many in the traditional media didn't get it."

But Huffington had a far different take when it was the Bush White House trying to win cooperation from the news media, writing in 2006: 
"reporters have lost sight of the fact that their mission is to uncover the truth -- not slip between the covers with the powers-that-be. Far too many on the Washington beat have traded their press pass for an all-access White House pass -- and, in doing so, have sacrificed their duty to the public for entry to the halls of power."

Now, in its eagerness to cooperate with Obama, Huffington's liberal online publication has sunk even lower than that, trading its scant objectivity and independence, not for "an all-access White House pass", but merely for a temporary press pass

Were thirty pieces of silver not offered?

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author