Reporters are frustrated that the president gets his message out through social media. That was the substantive part of the complaint. The other part? That reporters didn't get to watch Obama play golf with Tiger Woods.
With all the social media and digital technology at the White House’s fingertips, the administration has enormous control over what is released to the press and the public–which gives them a lot of power to shape the national conversation each day.
Huffington Post Editorial Director Howard Fineman pointed out on Tuesday’s show, “This is a typical Washington battle where the most trivial thing generates the most discussion while ignoring the more serious story behind and above it, that nobody bothers to look at.” Still, the press needs to do its job.
As First Read pointed out Tuesday morning, “all presidents want to control their images and access to the media. And with changes in technology and the news business, the ways to do that keep growing and growing.” As Howard said on the show, the president doesn’t have to go through the press corps in order to get his message out to the country. He has Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, the White House website, and other social media outlets to help him connect with the American people.
The press can complain (and it does!) that the president doesn’t give them sufficient access. But as Howard said, “it’s our obligation as reporters and news organizations not to whine, but to dig. Ask the questions repeatedly: if they don’t answer, highlight the fact that they aren’t answering. Do the digging, as opposed to merely wanting access so you can stand around and watch the president play golf [with Tiger Woods].”