Yesterday, The New York Times sniffed, "Is President Obama trying to muzzle his press corps?"
The obvious answer about this transparency-promoting president who keeps his daily schedule on Politico is inarguably, Yes. At least, he probably doesn't care enough about this New York Times reporter's feelings to reassure her that, 'No, it's not you, Honey, I called on three journalists from the White House press pool, then the Prime Minister has to call on his peeps, then we got the whole G-20 goin' on, you know how it is.'
In his press conferences, Obama has been leaving the press corps aghast by calling on journalists from smaller news outlets. Pressmen, not known for their benevolence, had likely been deriding these journalists until they started getting Obama's attention, such as Spanish-speaking Univision, U.S. Army newspaper Stars & Stripes, and the tres chic Huffington Post.
Here's a thought, New York Times: Maybe Obama's exercising the judgment he just showed by cracking the whip on GM and running Rick Wagoner out like the freeloader he is. Maybe Obama did not call on the New York Times because there are presently odds in Vegas as to whether or not the Grey Lady will even be around in June. With its debt rating junked at the start of the year, the New York Times needs to pony up $400 million by May. You know a good way to come up with $400 million dollars, New York Times? Never having bought About.com for $410 million! Well after the dot-com boom had faded to the stuff of funny urban legends, NYT saw a great opportunity in 2005 to buy the authoritative website on crap for the price of an impoverished nation.
As our erstwhile media paradigms' erosion surprises only the insulated editors and journalists who have assumed they are utterly crucial to our society, other smaller writers have not only gotten the story -- THEY'RE GETTING IT RIGHT.
It's not that I am still bitter about the New York Times role in our lead-up to the Iraq War, condoning the lack of sources Judith Miller tossed about in her love-fest with men with power, which was then used by the Bush Administration to shove those aluminum tubes up our ass. No, I'm still bitter about the Jayson Blair debacle, when an editor's favorite young reporter in the newsroom was turning in articles that were completely made-up, while this young man was drunk, high, and bipolar. Apparently the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalists at the storied paper couldn't put that together until a reporter who was plagiarized called to complain.
Or maybe Obama didn't call on this unlucky lady because he was avoiding more tacky questions from the NYT designed to appeal to the Right Wingers, who have long scoffed at the supposed liberal agenda of the New York Times (clearly without reading it), because conservative commentators have reliably bashed it for so long. (Hint to the NYT: You're not going to get Dittoheads' subscription money just because you sat on Air Force One and asked Obama how badly he wants to be a Socialist, or blow money on William "Always Wrong" Kristol.)
The NYT is probably also still hurt that Obama didn't give them a sit-down interview prior to his inauguration, because hey, other presidents did. They're probably also testy about their pay cuts, too, hence the inflated sense of urgency of "How could the President NOT ask me for the loaded question I need to lob at him to sound relevant??"
As Sarah Palin sneered about Katie Couric, "The world doesn't revolve around you." (Granted, Palin sounded seriously snarky, but then, so does the New York Times. What does that say?)
Indeed, the news from the New York Times has been reduced to the fact that they are not getting news.
UPDATE: Showing still greater hubris, NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller today announced, "Saving the New York Times now ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause."