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.