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Controlling the Media?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
http://www.breitbart.tv/white-house-...ons-for-obama/

When Helen Thompson (very liberal) accuses the White House of controlling the press, you know things are really bad. She should know, she has been a member of the White House Press Corps for 50 years.

Warning, some of the video comments are a little mean.
post #2 of 28
This is not news to me. They have been doing this all along. When Bush was in office there were the same kind of concerns..The US media is in general kissing ass to all politicians so even if the white house wasn't doing this they would still never have the guts to ask the right questions.. the media here in the US has always had the attitude that you don't bite the hand that feeds you, and indirectly sure enough the government does influence media profits. If you turn on a foreign news station, you see politicians get killed with awkward to them but right questions during press conferences...
For example you never saw any journalist ask pres. Bush "can you explain your reaction, why you continued to read to those kids as soon as you found out about 9/11"..
No- we hear about this kind of stuff from ridiculous people like Michael Moore and COMEDIANS...Come on it should not be comedians who are asking the right questions, it should be the main stream media.
John Stewart challenges politicians way more than any other CNN or FOX news show. It's despicable.
It pisses me off so much because this is why everyone in this country is so apathetic...the general public is always happy with things the way they are and extremely tolerant of everything the government does unless there is some kind of crisis...but even this economic crisis is not enough to make people aware enough of what government does and question it.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Well, if you listen to the video and listen to Helen Thompson, a 50 year White House Press Corp member, you would know that this is news and that they haven't been doing this "all along". And Helen should know, 50 years is a long, long time and she says flat out, "this has never happened at the White House before"



Quote:
Originally Posted by ut0pia View Post
This is not news to me. They have been doing this all along. When Bush was in office there were the same kind of concerns..The US media is in general kissing ass to all politicians so even if the white house wasn't doing this they would still never have the guts to ask the right questions.. the media here in the US has always had the attitude that you don't bite the hand that feeds you, and indirectly sure enough the government does influence media profits. If you turn on a foreign news station, you see politicians get killed with awkward to them but right questions during press conferences...
For example you never saw any journalist ask pres. Bush "can you explain your reaction, why you continued to read to those kids as soon as you found out about 9/11"..
No- we hear about this kind of stuff from ridiculous people like Michael Moore and COMEDIANS...Come on it should not be comedians who are asking the right questions, it should be the main stream media.
John Stewart challenges politicians way more than any other CNN or FOX news show. It's despicable.
It pisses me off so much because this is why everyone in this country is so apathetic...the general public is always happy with things the way they are and extremely tolerant of everything the government does unless there is some kind of crisis...but even this economic crisis is not enough to make people aware enough of what government does and question it.
post #4 of 28
I need a bit of a primer as regards to what's really happening here. So, the White House screens all of the potential questions, finds "the best" - whether that means the most articulate, most self-serving, or whatever - and whittles it down so there is basically one (screened) question for each of what the White House considers to be the hot button topics that "deserve" to be asked?

The alternative being what exactly; a stream of live questioning, via YouTube, similar to what we had in the debates? People truly picked at random at the Town Hall style meetings? That sort of thing?

Filtering of that sort certainly doesn't look good from a PR standpoint, does it. But if it's a situation where you're not going to get the truth to certain questions anyway, I guess it doesn't really matter in the end. There will always be a suspension of disbelief that's required when asking a politician a question, reveling in your "freedom of speech" and thinking that you're actually getting an honest answer.

So the theory is, that Obama is basically sparing us untruths/ambiguities by not allowing the questioning to come through in the first place(?) I can see that happening, perhaps even with innocent intentions (i.e., fear of having an answer spun and contorted). Though the White House's likely claim is that it's the most efficient process by which questions can be addressed(?) Hmmm.

You're probably better off just lying to the public and letting them have the illusion of transparency.

* This message brought to you by a non-partisan seeker of truth and processor of ideas, yet with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
I believe they were talking about Barack's supposed recent town hall meeting that really wasn't a town hall meeting but we were supposed to think it was a town hall meeting.
post #6 of 28
Somebody had better sit Ms. Thomas down in front of a PC and show her how Twitter and Facebook work. She obviously doesn't grasp what an "e-town hall meeting" is.
post #7 of 28
Wasn't it refreshing to hear a tough question from Helen Thomas after being silenced for 8 years by the Bush administration!?!?!?

Someone explain this to me. If you are opening up questions to the public for the president, and I would expect thousands of questions were submitted, how can they control them without screening them?

I've set up meetings for the VP's in my company where there are questions submitted in advance, on the phone, and through e-mail. Even with the small number of questions submitted, if there wasn't screening going on, you would never finish the meeting. We pushed thru questions that were the most common and of interest to the attendees, and withheld the questions specific to a single person.

Chip Reid is pretty arrogant to put himself above the public by not submitted a question and assuming he would be entitled to honored seats at the town hall meeting.
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
Somebody had better sit Ms. Thomas down in front of a PC and show her how Twitter and Facebook work. She obviously doesn't grasp what an "e-town hall meeting" is.
LOL, was it really an "E" town hall meeting? I could have sworn I saw Barack hugging a cancer survivor. Was that something else? Nope, it was a combination live and online meeting.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/wash...-townhall.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Wasn't it refreshing to hear a tough question from Helen Thompson after being silenced for 8 years by the Bush administration!?!?!?
Why the rolling eyes, is Helen lying? She is the one that said, even "Richard Nixon didn't try to do this" LOL

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/conten...x?RsrcID=50445

Someone explain this to me. If you are opening up questions to the public for the president, and I would expect thousands of questions were submitted, how can they control them without screening them?

I've set up meetings for the VP's in my company where there are questions submitted in advance, on the phone, and through e-mail. Even with the small number of questions submitted, if there wasn't screening going on, you would never finish the meeting. We pushed thru questions that were the most common and of interest to the attendees, and withheld the questions specific to a single person.

Chip Reid is pretty arrogant to put himself above the public by not submitted a question and assuming he would be entitled to honored seats at the town hall meeting.
http://www.cnsnews.com/public/conten...x?RsrcID=50445

Quote:
Helen Thomas: Not Even Nixon Tried to Control the Media Like Obama
Suffice it to say, if Helen Thompson, aged 89, who has been a member of the White House Press Corps for 50 darn years says something is going on, you can take it to the bank.

And Helen Thompson is a liberal Obama supporter.

What's that tell ya?
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Suffice it to say, if Helen Thompson, aged 89, who has been a member of the White House Press Corps for 50 darn years says something is going on, you can take it to the bank.
Is that why Bush shut her up for 8 years then?

And I still haven't heard how it is possible to reduce the number of questions submitted without some level of screening.
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Is that why Bush shut her up for 8 years then?

And I still haven't heard how it is possible to reduce the number of questions submitted without some level of screening.
LOL, Bush didn't shut her up, but nice try.

Nobody shuts up Helen Thompson.
post #11 of 28
Granted it can't be a question free for all... but I think the issue is that the president knows what the question will be and can better form his answer. Not only that, but questions that might be damaging to his cause would be kept out of the period. It's also that it's given as a show, like these are everyday people who have a question and not supporters asking carefully selected questions.

I think the whole thing is a big dumb show and I wish Obama would stop campaigning and just release his proposals with enough time for the Americans to read it and form their own opinions. Then maybe there could be discourse instead of some saying "It's fine, it's fine. No need to read it, just pass it." Besides, isn't that what he promised us?
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Nope, it was a combination live and online meeting.
What's that tell ya?
It tells me that she apparently doesn't grasp what that entails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
And I still haven't heard how it is possible to reduce the number of questions submitted without some level of screening.


ETA: I had to hunt for this. Perhaps Ms. Thomas is still upset about this incident?
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2...ference&st=cse
Quote:
No Interruptions | 1:24 p.m. | Sheryl Stolberg: A Helen Thomas moment! The octogenarian “dean of the White House press corps,” who rarely gets called on anymore, tried to interrupt the president as he was talking about Iran. “Hold on, Helen,” Mr. Obama said.
There was also the time he refused to state that Israel had nuclear weapons in response to her question:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVGWdLsAoBA
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
There was also the time he refused to state that Israel had nuclear weapons in response to her question:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVGWdLsAoBA
Seems to me this is a perfect example of why complete and total honesty and transparency is sometimes just plain unrealistic. Israel themselves will neither confirm nor deny the existence of their (err, I mean, "a" ) nuclear program; who is the United States - a supposed ally - to publicly out them? Just because all signs (though not necessarily evidence) point to the existence of something, it isn't necessarily in anyone's best interest to speak in definitive terms about it.
post #14 of 28
Are you really telling me that Bush didn't control Fox? Watch the film 'Control Room' for a view of what happened in the Iraq war - not only the national, but the international press were gagged and lied to. But it is not new or limited to the US, Tony Blair got elected in 97 because he bought the support of Rupert Murdoch and his press empire. The New Labour Party modelled their whole campaign on the US election press strategy because it was so successful. This is well documented in the memoirs of those who planned it - Philip Gould, Alistair Campbell et al. And it goes back years before that, though it has been brought to a fine art under present administrations.
post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
It tells me that she apparently doesn't grasp what that entails.




ETA: I had to hunt for this. Perhaps Ms. Thomas is still upset about this incident?
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2...ference&st=cse


There was also the time he refused to state that Israel had nuclear weapons in response to her question:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVGWdLsAoBA
I love the way the answers don't address the OP but go off on tangents such as, "Like Bush ignored her" ha ha, he didn't, but we all know everything will be Bush's fault forever.

And now, "Helen must be mad because........."

Come on now, we all know how Barack is, he can't answer an unscripted question, just admit it. I have never seen that man answer questions off the cuff. He can't do it.

Say what you want about Bush, he may have looked foolish sometimes but he wasn't afraid to take unscripted questions.

And, in addition, where's the transparency? Another in a long, long, line of broken campaign promises.

Where is that change again?
post #16 of 28
I am not convinced that Bush's questions were unscripted.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
LOL, was it really an "E" town hall meeting? I could have sworn I saw Barack hugging a cancer survivor. Was that something else? Nope, it was a combination live and online meeting.
post #18 of 28
You cannot claim that President Obama is controlling the press in a way that has never been done before and then claim that citing incidents from past presidents, President Bush included, is going off on a tangent.

It has been claimed by reporters that President Bush ran on of the most secretive administrations in regard to the press. If you are going to take what Helen Thomson says to the bank you must know she said the same thing about President Bush that she is saying about President Obama. She called the Bush administration the worst ever and his press secretaries robots spouting nonsense. So it has happened before. I don't think Helen Thomas is mad at President Obama but she has always gone after whatever President is in power. New president, the claims that the press is being controlled now go to him. Nothing new here. I like her questions and while I applaud her tenacity if she wants more information maybe she should be an investigative reporter instead of a White House press corp.

The press corp and the White House always has an adversarial relationship. The press wants a story and the White House want the information they want to go out. It didn't start with President Obama and to say so is funny to me. And the thought that President Bush was great with the press or gave strait answers is even funnier. A president that probably had the fewest press conferences of any modern president and had a dubious relationship with the press. Nature of the game. Doesn't make it right but the claim President Obama is unique in this instance is a little off base.
post #19 of 28
http://www.ceasespin.org/ceasespin_b...rm_public.html

Speaking of which- I thought the above information was pretty interesting.
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peachytoday View Post
You cannot claim that President Obama is controlling the press in a way that has never been done before and then claim that citing incidents from past presidents, President Bush included, is going off on a tangent.

It has been claimed by reporters that President Bush ran on of the most secretive administrations in regard to the press. If you are going to take what Helen Thomson says to the bank you must know she said the same thing about President Bush that she is saying about President Obama. She called the Bush administration the worst ever and his press secretaries robots spouting nonsense. So it has happened before. I don't think Helen Thomas is mad at President Obama but she has always gone after whatever President is in power. New president, the claims that the press is being controlled now go to him. Nothing new here. I like her questions and while I applaud her tenacity if she wants more information maybe she should be an investigative reporter instead of a White House press corp.

The press corp and the White House always has an adversarial relationship. The press wants a story and the White House want the information they want to go out. It didn't start with President Obama and to say so is funny to me. And the thought that President Bush was great with the press or gave strait answers is even funnier. A president that probably had the fewest press conferences of any modern president and had a dubious relationship with the press. Nature of the game. Doesn't make it right but the claim President Obama is unique in this instance is a little off base.
Thank you so much for making my point for me better than I ever could myself.
You are darn tootin' Helen Thompson did NOT like the Bush administration, she was very, VERY vocal about it.
BUT, Bush didn't try to control the media and she never accused him of that.

So, no, it hasn't ever happened before. Helen Thompson did not like Bush's policies. But she never accused him of controlling the media like our buddy Barack.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Thank you so much for making my point for me better than I ever could myself.
You are darn tootin' Helen Thompson did NOT like the Bush administration, she was very, VERY vocal about it.
BUT, Bush didn't try to control the media and she never accused him of that.

So, no, it hasn't ever happened before. Helen Thompson did not like Bush's policies. But she never accused him of controlling the media like our buddy Barack.
If you say so. I happen to think being secretive and giving nonsensical answers to the press is manipulative and a form of control and I think that is what Helen Thomson was saying as well. But that is just my opinion. I think you are giving President Bush waaaaay too much credit on his administrations dealings with the press. The notion that President Bush did not try to control the press is hilarious to me.
post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peachytoday View Post
If you say so. I happen to think being secretive and giving nonsensical answers to the press is manipulative and a form of control and I think that is what Helen Thomson was saying as well. But that is just my opinion. I think you are giving President Bush waaaaay too much credit on his administrations dealings with the press. The notion that President Bush did not try to control the press is hilarious to me.
Quote:
I think that is what Helen Thomson was saying as well.
Then why did Helen Thomas say that she has NEVER seen an administration try to control the media like Obama's?

You can't spin the woman's own words.
post #23 of 28
^ People are not always consistent with what they say. I think that was the point that was made...
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
Then why did Helen Thomas say that she has NEVER seen an administration try to control the media like Obama's?

You can't spin the woman's own words.
But I can question the meaning and intent.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Someone explain this to me. If you are opening up questions to the public for the president, and I would expect thousands of questions were submitted, how can they control them without screening them?
OK, maybe this will shed a different light on it.

The staffer from Huffington Post was brought into the White House, discussed possible questions with the President, and then his question, when he submitted it, was chosen by the President to be answered.

So, if you're going to do that, you might as well just give a speech.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Wasn't it refreshing to hear a tough question from Helen Thomas after being silenced for 8 years by the Bush administration!?!?!?
Far from being "silenced" by the Bush administration, she got to ask the last or first question, as usual, so long as she was the "Dean" of the WH correspondents.

When her employer went belly up and she became just another columnist, she got to keep her assigned seat and still got to ask questions, although such questions are rare for non-reporters.

And after her first nasty question at Obama's first press event, someone needs to check her purse for how much Geritol she's drinking before the briefings.
post #27 of 28
Every Presidential Administration has sought to control what information is released to the press and the public. That is nothing new. The Bush Administration was often faulted for being too "closed" to the press by holdinging the fewest press conferences with the President than any previous Administration. That was their way of controlling information.

The difference with the Obama Administration is how he is using the press and even their own Town Hall meetings. At Obama's first Press Conference, he had all of the reporters pre-picked to ask their questions. When asked about it, Ari Fleisher (Bush's first Press Secretary) said that they dealt with press conferences by the seating chart for the press corps. The main stream press would be in one section, regional press in another, and the more radical (generally online blogs) in another that they referred to as "Siberia". Bush would randomly call on members of the press for their questions, but was advised to "stay away from Siberia".

Obviously we know about the planted question from the Huffington Post. If that has been done before, then they at least used a plant with a little more experience who knew how to make it look like they weren't a plant. And that Town Hall Meeting Obama had shortly following that was with people who had pre-submitted their questions online and then the best ones pre-selected. I have little doubt that they were given assigned seating tickets so Obama could prepare for the "right" questions.

I can't say that I watched all of Bush's press conferences or public speaking appearances, but I'm pretty sure that the questions he got weren't just on the topic he wanted to talk about. I'm 99% sure that there were some asked by people and reporters who weren't supporters of his policies, and he had to answer some hard questions. Maybe that's why he sometimes mis-spoke (mis-pronunciations and such) sometimes while Obama continues to use his teleprompter even at these press conferences.
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
Are you kidding me? Obama uses a teleprompter at his press conferences?
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