Obama's White House woos New York Times

When I first showed up in Washington in 1979, the Washington Post and the New York Times stood head and shoulders above other media - including the Big Three networks - as far as opinion and advancing one's political agenda. Carter had lost both papers relatively early in his presidency but they showed no favors to the newcomer Reagan when he was elected.

And Reagan could've cared less. The Gipper really was the first president to elevate television to a status over any print outlet in Washington.

Now it appears that given the fact that the New York Times especially has abandoned even the pretext of fairness and has demonstrated that it is in Obama's lap, the administration is reciprocating by granting almost unparalleled access to Pinch's Democratic party house organ.

Michael Calderone in Politico has the details:

But for all its new media airs, the new White House team remains in the thrall of perhaps the most emblematic old media institution of all.

Senior Obama officials during the transition posed for Times Sunday Magazine portraits and then opened the doors again with top-level access for another major magazine piece this month on health care. Midlevel officials cooperate for Times profiles detailing their key behind-the-scenes roles. Even routine news stories buried deep inside the A-section of the Times often quote high-level sources speaking both on and off the record.

One part of Obama's Times fixation is strategy. For all the proliferation of news outlets, Obama aides believe the paper still has an outsize ability to shape perceptions among political elites and other journalists.

But part of the relationship is more complicated, according to some close observers, flowing from a cultural affinity that makes Obamaites crave the validation that comes from being written about by the Times.

"The cliché of the Upper West Side liberal getting the NYT and bagels on Sundays is still very much alive," said Democratic strategist Phil Singer. "But make no mistake: The NYT is still the gold standard for any elected official - Republican or Democrat."

The fact that the Obama administration has joined the New York Times in their little liberal cocoon shouldn't surprise us. Rarely a word of criticism is seen in its pages so of course, they are going to play favorites.

But in the end, it is probable that little cocoon will explode when the real world in the form of a continuing recession, inflation, and unmet overseas challenges intrudes on their dreamworld. At that point, not even the much reduced influence of the Times will save them.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky




When I first showed up in Washington in 1979, the Washington Post and the New York Times stood head and shoulders above other media - including the Big Three networks - as far as opinion and advancing one's political agenda. Carter had lost both papers relatively early in his presidency but they showed no favors to the newcomer Reagan when he was elected.

And Reagan could've cared less. The Gipper really was the first president to elevate television to a status over any print outlet in Washington.

Now it appears that given the fact that the New York Times especially has abandoned even the pretext of fairness and has demonstrated that it is in Obama's lap, the administration is reciprocating by granting almost unparalleled access to Pinch's Democratic party house organ.

Michael Calderone in Politico has the details:

But for all its new media airs, the new White House team remains in the thrall of perhaps the most emblematic old media institution of all.

Senior Obama officials during the transition posed for Times Sunday Magazine portraits and then opened the doors again with top-level access for another major magazine piece this month on health care. Midlevel officials cooperate for Times profiles detailing their key behind-the-scenes roles. Even routine news stories buried deep inside the A-section of the Times often quote high-level sources speaking both on and off the record.

One part of Obama's Times fixation is strategy. For all the proliferation of news outlets, Obama aides believe the paper still has an outsize ability to shape perceptions among political elites and other journalists.

But part of the relationship is more complicated, according to some close observers, flowing from a cultural affinity that makes Obamaites crave the validation that comes from being written about by the Times.

"The cliché of the Upper West Side liberal getting the NYT and bagels on Sundays is still very much alive," said Democratic strategist Phil Singer. "But make no mistake: The NYT is still the gold standard for any elected official - Republican or Democrat."

The fact that the Obama administration has joined the New York Times in their little liberal cocoon shouldn't surprise us. Rarely a word of criticism is seen in its pages so of course, they are going to play favorites.

But in the end, it is probable that little cocoon will explode when the real world in the form of a continuing recession, inflation, and unmet overseas challenges intrudes on their dreamworld. At that point, not even the much reduced influence of the Times will save them.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky