From the Department of You Done Good On This One: the New York Times declined an invitation to have lunch with the president and “about a dozen” other reporters at the White House today. Why?
The Obama administration wanted to talk to reporters about the problems the press has with the way they’ve been treated by 44’s crew…off the record. Which is, in and of itself, a certain stripe of slight. Why not be transparent about your press strategy? They’re apparently afraid of something, and rather than kowtow to their needs like the rest of the crowd — who’re no doubt, among other possible motivations, just excited to have lunch with the president — the New York Times said no. This isn’t the first time they’ve taken a holier-than-thou stance against Washington. In 2007, Frank Rich implemented a still-present policy against Times reporters attending the sleazy, shoulder-rubby, celebrity spectacle that is the White House Press Correspondents Dinner, which he took the opportunity to slam again this year. The Times was right on both of those instances, and they’re right now: The D.C. press corps, when not given the access and transparency that’s rightfully theirs, become lazily resigned to passive sycophancy instead of playing with their elbows out.
It’s sad, especially when you consider the outrage and accusations of conspiratorial collusion that happens when people find out about reporters are privately emailing each other their not-for-public-consumption thoughts and conversations. What about reporters who’re privately having off-the-record conversations with the president of the country because they were told they had to? That potential for collusion between reporters and the president of our country? That…is outrage-worthy.