Press Loves Obama!

Andrew Malcolm and Patrick Gavin point out that the “remarkably dissimilar treatment” that President Obama and President Bush got from the White House press corps, noting that they stand in respect for the former and kept their seats for the latter.

CBS’ Mark Knoller provides a plausible explanation:

It’s a long-standing practice for reporters to rise when the president enters the East Room for a news conference, but that hasn’t been the case in the briefing room.   I checked with two colleagues who served as senior wire service reporters during the Bush Presidency and who, in matters of press protocol, the rest of us followed.  “The briefing room is always a more informal place,” says Steve Holland of Reuters.

But the principal reason reporters remained in their seats, he said, was not to block the shot of TV cameramen and still photographers in the back of the room who were trying to make a picture of the president’s walk-in.

No disrespect was intended for President Bush and to the best of my knowledge none was taken.

In addition, it only takes about three steps for the president to reach the lectern from the press room door. He’d be ready to begin and many reporters would barely be out of their seats, which used to be further complicated by swivel desks that had to be shifted out of the way.

So far, so good.  But, um, wasn’t Obama in the briefing room?

When some reporters stood up for President Obama last Friday, they forgot about the needs of their colleagues in the back of the room as well as the less formal atmosphere of the briefing room. Certainly it was a sign of respect for the president, but not one of disrespect for his predecessor.

It was President Obama’s first time at the briefing room lectern since taking office and for some new members of the White House Press, it was their first time seeing a president enter the room as well.

So, a rookie mistake?   Or maybe they were just startled to see Obama walk in and take over unexpectedly?  I can live with that.

Amusingly, the thing that set  Malcolm off to begin with was the statement by White House culture czar Kareem Dale at the Atlantic Council last week that “At the White House, as we always like to say, we love MSNBC.”  It should be noted that Dale, there to introduce the Council’s Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award honoree Thomas Hampson, had just been given a very long and warm introduction by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and the emcees of the event.

Ed Morrissey also whacks Dale for claiming that the arts are accorded “second class” status in the United States, noting that most great art is made without government subsidy.    I make the counterargument in my New Atlanticist post, “Where Words Fail, Music Speaks.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    James, the argument about government funding of the arts is based on a misconception, namely that “public funding” means the same thing everywhere.

    In most of Europe and for all I know most of the world if funding for something doesn’t come from the national government and it doesn’t come from commercial sources, it doesn’t come at all. Our society is significantly less centralized than that of, say, France.

    If, instead of contrasting federal funding of the arts with national funding of the arts in, say, Germany, we contrasted noncommercial funding of the arts here and noncommercial funding of the arts elsewhere I have little doubt that Americans support the arts as much or more than any people in the world. We do it in our own way through a combination of commercial support, voluntarism, charitable contribution, and local, state, and federal government funding.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Perhaps ol’ Captain Ed should crack a history book and learn a little more about how the people who invented democracy felt about the role of the arts in their society.

    Or perhaps his position is “a lot of people watch American Idol, the arts are doing just fine”…

  3. […] Outside the Beltway channels a CBS explanation for some of this love that dare not speak its name. Meanwhile, related, Joyner over at the New Atlanticist, in a spat with HotAir’s Ed Morrissey for the love of art. […]

  4. floyd says:

    “”No disrespect was intended for President Bush””
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    Here we see the word “President” juxtaposed with the word “Bush”, an event so rare in the last eight years as to evoke curious responses from the reader or listener such as …. Oh yeah I guess that’s “technically” true.
    Even “Mr.” was rare relative to the use of the stand alone “Bush” or the contemptuous “Dubya”!

    The press has an attitude that is more correctly described as…

    “God does not exist-and his name is Obama”:

  5. Raoul says:

    If the press had done its job during the Bush years, we would not be in the mess we are in now.

  6. Because only the government can confer first class status to art?

    As to the stand up/sit down kerfluffle, I imagine the Church Lady saying, “How convenient,” as I read the explanations. There’s nothing overt here, but it is funny how the dominoes so obviously fall into place in such a predictable manner.

  7. […] Conservatives that need to learn this:: The Atlanticist, Outside The Beltway, PoliGazette, Jules Crittenden, Scared Monkeys, TBogg, Fausta’s Blog, Weekly Standard, Sister […]

  8. FranklinTest says:

    It should be noted that Dale … had just been given a very long and warm introduction by Joe Scarborough

    Joe is a commie, IIRC.

  9. G.A.Phillips says:

    If the press had done its job during the Bush years, we would not be in the mess we are in now.

    Exactly, instead of hating on Bush and undermining the war effort they could have exposed the true culture of corruption and most of the Democrat leadership would be in prison were they belong instead of in control of whats left of this country.

  10. Raoul says:

    GAP: so you are pro war- why? WMDs? Do you like torture? Do you like deficits? Do you like corporate graft? All this and much much more brought to you by a 100% GOP dominated government. If you do not like where we are, then look at yourself. And please do not be surprised why the American people turned against your ilk.

  11. Just curious, but why do you think the GOP has a monopoly on being pro war? Assuming there were WMDs? Advocating torture? Increasing deficits? Corporate graft?

    Exactly what do you think such partisan hackery gets you?

  12. G.A.Phillips says:

    I am pro war because at this time evil Muslims that murder to honor the words of their false god need to be stopped.

    lol your trying to blame the evils of the world on me now.

  13. markm says:

    Do you like deficits?

    Does the GOP have sole ownership of deficits?. The last I looked the current deficit makes me long for the days when a real good deficit started with a b.

  14. Our Paul says:

    Point of Order, Point of Order!!!

    Patrick Gavin’s video splices the opening shot of President Bush’s occasionally (rarely?) scheduled Press Conferences with President Obama unexpectedly interrupting the daily press briefing. Two different events linked by the communality of a room and the presence of the Press Corps.

    In a scheduled Press Briefing, by custom, the Press does not stand. Protocol dictates that everybody stands when the President walks into a room. As this was not a scheduled Press Briefing, those in attendance correctly stood up.

    And thus, Patrick Gavin gets an A from the Center Right in its continued effort to paint the Press as an organ of the despised and hateful left. But then, recognizing triviality, stupidity, and inaccuracy in its pursuit of excellence has never been the Center Right’s strong suite.

    As an insightful comment the video does not even rate a Bronx Cheer. It hardly rates a shrug of the shoulder to James question:

    So, a rookie mistake?

    I presume our host is talking about Patrick Gavin. Certainly not the Washington Press Corp, they after all have a fair amount of experience in Presidential Protocol. For all they knew, the President was going to go up to Robert Gibbs and whisper in his ear that Gibbs’ fly was open. Of course they stood up!

    With all that said, nice entry into the Atlantic Council. Will not say much about funding for the arts, nor will point out where the opposition to government funding of the Arts comes from…

  15. markm says:

    GAP: so you are pro war- why?

    Seems to me that while campaigning Obama said he would take it to em’ in Afghanistan and possibly Pakistan. That’s hardly flower power.

    Do you like torture?

    Has “torture” ceased in the current admin?. Tell that to the guys at GITMO and GITMO East (Bagram) where there have been multiple news stories to the contrary. The UK Guardian and the NYT had current stories from each. Same as the old boss.

    …what the hell was your point again?.

  16. An Interested Party says:

    Just curious, but why do you think the GOP has a monopoly on…Increasing deficits? Corporate graft?

    Of course they don’t, but some people are now acting like the Dems do (look how all of a sudden deficits seem to matter) even though these things are and have been done by both parties..

    I am pro war because at this time evil Muslims that murder to honor the words of their false god need to be stopped.

    What an enlightened position…tell me, do you also believe in Creationism?

    Has “torture” ceased in the current admin?

    I believe it has, unless you would care to provide some proof that the Obama Administration tortures the way that the Bush Administration did…maybe that was his point…

    Finally, as for the press standing for President Obama, maybe they are just happy that we again have a president who holds press conferences on a regular basis rather than one who seemed to hold them rarely and preferred to spend his time with pre-screened audiences of sycophants…

  17. sam says:

    @markm

    Has “torture” ceased in the current admin?. Tell that to the guys at GITMO and GITMO East (Bagram) where there have been multiple news stories to the contrary. The UK Guardian and the NYT had current stories from each. Same as the old boss.

    I’d like to read those stories, can you supply links for us. TIA

  18. floyd says:

    “”Has “torture” ceased in the current admin?””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    Certainly not, that which has not begun cannot cease, unless there is some legitimate allegation that the new administration has started the practice, then stopped.

  19. Don’t forget Bush had a habit of using extremely informal (often inappropriately so, IMHO) nicknames for reporters when dealing with the press. It’s hard to blame the press for treating Bush less formally than other presidents when Bush made a deliberate decision to establish that air of informality.

  20. An Interested Party says:

    re: floyd at May 5, 2009 16:31

    Oh really…what would you call waterboarding, a slightly wet discomfort? How ironic that you so often blow out the hot air about “liberty” and “tyranny” but now you excuse torture…

  21. twolaneflash says:

    I was only surprised that the worshipping media didn’t bow, pbuh. Urinalyst, all.

  22. markm says:

    I believe it has, unless you would care to provide some proof that the Obama Administration tortures the way that the Bush Administration did…maybe that was his point…

    Ah, well, as far as the articles pointed out there is no waterboarding…but there wasn’t for most of the past admin either. But their are beatings and abuse.

    I will try to find both articles.

  23. markm says:

    This is not the article(s) I referred to above but has linkage to different stories of the same gist.

    http://open.salon.com/blog/dennis_loo/2009/04/27/follow-up_on_sources_for_gitmo_prisoners_arent_persons

    The NYT article is a pay to view. I am still searching on the UK Guardian piece.

  24. G.A.Phillips says:

    What an enlightened position…tell me, do you also believe in Creationism?

    yes.

    It’s the only conclusion when one looks at the evidence.

    And all, I did was answer the question about why I am pro war truthfully, while mostly ignoring the silly garbage that liberals made up to attack Bush with.

    And tell me do you think the choice to murder your own children is an enlightened position.

    please tell me your own thoughts, not what some other stupid person told you, I can tell.

  25. G.A.Phillips says:

    Seems to me that while campaigning Obama said he would take it to em’ in Afghanistan and possibly Pakistan. That’s hardly flower power.

    lol, and for exactly the reason I gave, even that he will never be brave or honest enough to state it the way I did.

  26. sam says:

    @GA

    lol, and for exactly the reason I gave, even that he will never be brave or honest stooopid enough to state it the way I did.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    And tell me do you think the choice to murder your own children is an enlightened position.

    No I don’t…and it really is hilarious that you would call anyone else stupid considering you don’t even believe in evolution…