Everybody knows that politicians love reporters, especially in the era of “gotcha journalism” where sound bites reign supreme.
While former President Donald Trump repeatedly made his stance clear that the media is the “enemy of the people,” Vice President Kamala Harris has done so more discreetly, but on a more personal level.
A recent piece in The Atlantic provided an in-depth look at Harris’ first few months in office, including an interesting tidbit about how she and her staff work with the press.
Harris and her team reportedly “dismiss reporters” and she even sometimes personally “tracks political players and reporters whom she thinks don’t fully understand her or appreciate her life experience,” according to The Atlantic. Further, “she continues to retreat behind talking points and platitudes in public, and declines many interview requests and opportunities to speak for herself.”
As Harris is a seasoned politician, this should not be surprising, yet it is mildly concerning given the White House’s expressed desire for transparency.
The Atlantic even reported that television producers have debated whether to send their staffers on trips with the vice president because she usually comes across as “uninteresting” and only plays by the book with her rhetoric.
While conventional wisdom would suggest that the Democratic administration would have a more friendly relationship with the press compared to the previous White House, it has consistently shown hostility toward the media.
Earlier this month, it became clear that the White House communications team sometimes approves quotes before they are published, Politico reported.
This means that the White House may be able to edit quotes in order for them to be attributed to an administration official.
.@peterbakernyt weighs in.
“the WH realized: ‘Hey, this quote approval thing is a cool thing. We can now control what is in their stories by refusing to allow them use anything without our approval.’ And it’s a pernicious, insidious, awful practice that reporters should resist” pic.twitter.com/ac4prVuqn6
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) May 10, 2021
Then there was the controversy back in March, when media outlets were at cross-purposes with the federal government over getting access to migrant facilities at the southern border.
While these are both serious instances of disdain shown toward the press, even President Joe Biden’s latest joke while he was testing a Ford F150 would have been labeled a “threat to democracy” if he were a Republican.
“Mr. President, can I ask you a quick question on Israel before you drive away, since it’s so important?” a reporter asked the president Tuesday, bizarrely requesting his permission to ask a question.
“No, you can’t. Not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it,” Biden replied in jest.
REPORTER: “Mr. President, can I ask you a quick question on Israel before you drive away since it’s so important?”
BIDEN: “No you can’t. Not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it.”
H/T: @washingtonpost pic.twitter.com/fU08qGr8Gm
— MediaResearchCenter (@theMRC) May 18, 2021
The establishment media have proven that they are generally kind toward the Biden administration, but that does not stop the White House from wanting to run a tight ship.
Biden, Harris and their teams want to do everything possible to retain a squeaky clean public image, even if it means taking steps that would arguably restrict freedom of the press.
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