Author Topic: Helen Thomas: Not Even Nixon Tried to Control the Media Like Obama Administratio  (Read 3513 times)

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Offline bigron

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Helen Thomas: Not Even Nixon Tried to Control the Media Like Obama Administration

P U L S E

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m55704&hd=&size=1&l=e

July 4, 2009

Helen Thomas, a mainstream media elder spokeswoman, is sharper than other members of the US press corps half her age. This testy exchange between White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Chip Reid (CBS) and Helen Thomas (Hearst News Service) is significant because it shows how even the mainstream press corps are becoming frustrated with increasingly tight regulation of the press by the current White House. Thomas, who has covered every administration since Kennedy, told CNSnews.com that "not even Richard Nixon tried to control the press the way President Obama is trying to control the press." Thomas cites a recent arrangement between the Obama Administration and a Huffington Post journalist who was invited to President Obama’s press conference last week on the understanding that he would ask Obama a question about Iran. The CNSNews piece and transcript follows (h/t 99).

Watch :

Robert Gibbs gets grilled by Chip Reid (CBS) and Helen Thomas (Hearst News Service):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpI4vCMTuFQ&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Euruknet%2Einfo%2F%3Fp%3Dm55704%26hd%3D%26size%3D1%26l%3De&feature=player_embedded


From CNSNews:

Following a testy exchange during Wednesday’s briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas told CNSNews.com that not even Richard Nixon tried to control the press the way President Obama is trying to control the press.

"Nixon didn’t try to do that," Thomas said. "They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try.

"What the hell do they think we are, puppets?" Thomas said. "They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them."

Thomas said she was especially concerned about the arrangement between the Obama Administration and a writer from the liberal Huffington Post Web site. The writer was invited by the White House to President Obama’s press conference last week on the understanding that he would ask Obama a question about Iran from among questions that had been sent to him by people in Iran.

"When you call the reporter the night before you know damn well what they are going to ask to control you," Thomas said.

"I’m not saying there has never been managed news before, but this is carried to fare-thee-well–for the town halls, for the press conferences," she said. "It’s blatant. They don’t give a damn if you know it or not. They ought to be hanging their heads in shame."

During today’s briefing, Thomas interrupted a back-and-forth between Gibbs and Chip Reid, the White House correspondent for CBS News, when Reid was questioning Gibbs about who was going to decide what questions would be asked of President Obama in a townhall meeting that was scheduled to take place in Annandale, Va., today.

Gibbs then had an exchange involving Reid and Thomas that went as follows:

Gibbs: "… But, again, let’s–How about we do this? I promise we will interrupt the AP’s tradition of asking the first question. I will let you [Chip Reid] ask me a question tomorrow as to whether you thought the questions at the town hall meeting that the President conducted in Annandale—"

Chip Reid: "I’m perfectly happy to—"

Helen Thomas: "That’s not his point. The point is the control–"

Reid: "Exactly."

Thomas: "We have never had that in the White House. And we have had some, but not– This White House."

Gibbs: "Yes, I was going to say, I’ll let you amend her question."

Thomas: "I’m amazed. I’m amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency and—"

Gibbs: "Helen, you haven’t even heard the questions."

Reid: "It doesn’t matter. It’s the process."

Thomas: "You have left open—"

Reid: "Even if there’s a tough question, it’s a question coming from somebody who was invited or was screened, or the question was screened."

Thomas: "It’s shocking. It’s really shocking."

Gibbs: "Chip, let’s have this discussion at the conclusion of the town hall meeting. How about that?"

Reid: "Okay."

Gibbs: "I think—"

Thomas: "No, no, no, we’re having it now–"

Gibbs: "Well, I’d be happy to have it now."

Thomas: "It’s a pattern."

Gibbs: "Which question did you object to at the town hall meeting, Helen?"

Thomas: "It’s a pattern. It isn’t the question—"

Gibbs: "What’s a pattern?"

Thomas: "It’s a pattern of controlling the press."

Gibbs: "How so? Is there any evidence currently going on that I’m controlling the press–poorly, I might add."

Thomas: "Your formal engagements are pre-packaged."

Gibbs: "How so?"

Reid: "Well, and controlling the public—"

Thomas: "How so? By calling reporters the night before to tell them they’re going to be called on. That is shocking."

Gibbs: "We had this discussion ad nauseam and—"

Thomas: "Of course you would, because you don’t have any answers."

Gibbs: "Well, because I didn’t know you were going to ask a question, Helen.
Go ahead."

Thomas: "Well, you should have."

Reporter: Thank you for your support.

Gibbs: "That’s good. Have you e-mailed your question today?"

Thomas: "I don’t have to e-mail it. I can tell you right now what I want to ask."

Gibbs: "I don’t doubt that at all, Helen. I don’t doubt that at all."



 

Offline Dok

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Maybe a few of the "reporters" will take notice now.
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Offline bigron

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New Files Prove Pentagon Is Profiling Reporters


Think Progress

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m57427&hd=&size=1&l=e

August 28, 2009

This week, Stars and Stripes revealed that the Pentagon had hired a controversial contractor to screen journalists seeking to embed with U.S. forces. The Rendon Group determines whether reporters’ coverage "was 'positive,’ 'negative’ or 'neutral’ compared to mission objectives." The Pentagon’s decision was especially shocking in light of Rendon’s sordid past: The group personally set up the Iraqi National Congress and helped install Ahmad Chalabi as leader, whose main goal — "pressure the United States to attack Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein" — Rendon helped facilitate.

Military officials immediately went about furiously refuting the reports. "We have not denied access to anyone because of what may or may not come out of their biography," said public affairs officer Air Force Capt. Elizabeth Mathias. "It’s so we know with whom we’re working." Other officials for the Pentagon and Rendon went even further:

"They are not doing that [rating reporters], that’s not been a practice for some time — actually since the creation of U.S. Forces–Afghanistan" in October 2008, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters Monday. "I can tell you that the way in which the Department of Defense evaluates an article is its accuracy. It’s a good article if it’s accurate. It’s a bad article if it’s inaccurate. That’s the only measurement that we use here at the Defense Department." [...]

The Rendon Group declared in a statement that "the information and analysis we generate is developed … not by ranking of reporters."

But new files prove otherwise. Stars and Stripes obtained profiles produced by Rendon. They clearly calculate the percentage of "positive" stories written by a reporter and offer ideas not about how to get the reporter to produce more accurate stories, but how to get more "favorable coverage" for the military. Fox News also obtained a slide from a Rendon PowerPoint presentation, where headlines from major newspapers are rated with "a plus sign, a negative sign or a capital 'N,’ presumably for neutral." Images from the profiles and PowerPoint:



Stars and Stripes also notes that one of the profiles looked at a reporter’s work as recently as May, indicating that the ranking did not stop in October 2008, as Whitman claimed.

What remains unclear is how extensively this ranking affects whether the military allows certain reporters to embed with troops. At least one reporter, Heath Druzin with Stars and Stripes, was barred for refusing to highlight more good news from the military. Fox News also obtained a Rendon memo that "showed that past coverage is at least taken into account during the process."