The gist of the NYT story is that Obama and his underlings are bullying the media and censoring news about Obama and his campaign. The story begins like this:
The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative.
They are sent by e-mail from the Obama headquarters in Chicago to reporters who have interviewed campaign officials under one major condition: the press office has veto power over what statements can be quoted and attributed by name.Most reporters, desperate to pick the brains of the president’s top strategists, grudgingly agree. After the interviews, they review their notes, check their tape recorders and send in the juiciest sound bites for review.The verdict from the campaign — an operation that prides itself on staying consistently on script — is often no, Barack Obama does not approve this message.
Peters goes on to say:
[P]oliticians and their advisers are routinely demanding that reporters allow them final editing power over any published quotations.Quote approval is standard practice for the Obama campaign, used by many top strategists and almost all midlevel aides in Chicago and at the White House — almost anyone other than spokesmen who are paid to be quoted. (And sometimes it applies even to them.) It is also commonplace throughout Washington and on the campaign trail.
As for how the censorship by Obama's minions alters reality, Peters offers up two examples.
Jim Messina, the Obama campaign manager, can be foul-mouthed. But readers would not know it because he deletes the curse words before approving his quotes. Brevity is not a strong suit of David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser. So he tightens up his sentences before giving them the O.K.
Then Peters paints the news media as victims.
It was difficult to find a news outlet that had not agreed to quote approval, albeit reluctantly. Organizations like Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Reuters and The New York Times have all consented to interviews under such terms.
And all those poor, victimized media outlets are, of course, liberal. True to form, because of the nature of his inherent liberal-ness, Peters cannot refrain from trying to make the Romney campaign seem just as controlling as Obama and his puppets. Peters cites the Romney campaign's insistence on approval rights to what Romney's five sons say in interviews. Then he says that a senior Romney adviser, Stuart Stevens, will not let the media print his quotes of Walt Whitman and H.R. Haldeman--"clever", "disparaging" quotes, according to Peters--that he makes about political opponents. That makes me wonder what Stevens really said about Obama in a recent Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ) article where he reportedly called the President a "terrible candidate" (gasp!), and where the GQ author called Stevens a "campaign big-shot" and the Romney campaign "adept at optimistic spin." Neither of these last two descriptors being "mildly provocative" in the least. Did Stevens censor that article?
In another attempt to make the controlling media-censorship by Obama seem bipartisan, Peters spouts off some nonsensical reference to a 2007 incident involving Dick Cheney. I read this paragraph no less than six times, and I cannot for the life of me understand what Peters is saying.
In 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney outed himself in a briefing the White House intended to be anonymous during an overseas trip. “I’ve seen some press reporting says, ‘Cheney went in to beat up on them,’ ” the vice president told reporters, according to the official transcript, adding, “That’s not the way I work.”
Though reporters with him protested, the vice president’s office refused to allow them to identify Mr. Cheney by name — even though it was clear who was speaking.
Say what? Spoken like a true reaching-for-something-to-hang-his-hat-on (and doing a lousy job of it) liberal. Mr. Peters then ended his piece by getting back on topic -- the current administration's insistence on controlling the narrative.
Under President Obama, the insistence on blanket anonymity has grown to new levels.
The White House’s latest innovation is a variation of the background briefing called the “deep-background briefing,” which it holds for groups of reporters, sometimes several dozen at a time. Reporters may paraphrase what senior administration officials say, but they are forbidden to put anything in quotation marks or identify the speakers.
It's easy for me to see why Joseph Farah of WND wrote yesterday, "This may be the most important story broken by the New York Times in years." Farah explains:The White House held such a briefing after the Supreme Court’s health care ruling last month with officials including Mr. Plouffe, Mr. Carney and Dan Pfeiffer, the communications director. But when reporters asked to quote part of the conversation, even anonymously, they were told no. Even the spokesmen were off limits.
What it means is this: When Americans read these reports – whether in newspapers, wire services or on the Internet – they are not really reading news stories at all. They are reading approved, pre-packaged press releases from the government and politicians. But, even worse, they are not labeled as such. They are labeled as actual news.And try as the liberals might, there is a huge difference between the most powerful man in the world censoring and controlling the narrative and his opponent, who wants that job, controlling what the media says about his five sons.
Mr. Farah notes that WND has always refused to play by Obama's rules. As a result, "WND was denied credentials to cover the Democratic National Convention," says Farah. "Why do you suppose what has become one of the largest and most influential news agencies in the country would be denied access to the convention floor? Simply because the Democrats know we won’t play by their rules of control like the members of the establishment press club."
And for that insistence on maintaining the integrity and independence that was once the hallmark of nearly all the news media in this country, but is now nearly extinct, I say, "Well done, WND, well done."
I know it will be a(nother) cold day in Hell before WND abandons those principles.