State Controlled MediaMay 19, 2010
We've grown accustomed to the Left shutting out dissent and attempting to control information, most notably at colleges, where conservatives either are denied opportunities to speak on campus or, when they are, are shouted down and otherwise treated rudely. Not exactly fulfilling higher education's mission, but nothing like what we see now coming from the White House, which is supposed to define the differences between American governance and those of tight-fisted, undemocratic regimes. First, it was the unprecedented "interview" of Supreme Court Justice nominee Elena Kagan that the White House produced — shielding her from the Mainstream Media — and posted on the White House Web site, as if the Obama administration thinks its best friends are going to give Kagan a rough time (see The Raw Story Blog, here). Either her record and lack of qualification is that bad or they are trying to conceal a radical ideology.
Then there is the case of the White House putting the kibosh on the New York Times, which simply wanted to observe her brother teach a class (see Free Republic). Since when does the government have that authority? Have it or not, it exercised it, and Hunter College High School disallowed the Times from sitting in, saying that "media requests now had to be given final approval by the White House." What? But that wasn't enough. It also reached further into the family tree, when it slapped down an interview with her cousin (see Sharon Oterman at the Times' City Room Blog).
Staged interviews and gagging relatives are one thing, but the White House within the last day or so really has taken the cake: It suspended the Twitter account of the guest celebrity chef brought in to prepare the state dinner in honor of Mexican President Felipe Calderon (NBC Chicago Blog). Apparently, Rick Bayless, who is cooking pro bono, was divulging too much information about the meal (see Lynn Sweet Chicago Sun-Times) as well as conventional interviews with those right wingers at NPR and other MSMs, and the Obama administration is afraid of any revelations of double standards and ill-perceptions: First Lady Michelle's obesity campaign may come into ridicule once the opulent delicacies and calorie-rich menu is disclosed, and the high-living lifestyle won't set well with Americans suffering during a recession.
While every administration tries to spin the news and limit access to officials in order to limit damage, actually producing the news is an entirely new function of a democratic republic. Even allowing for the application of new technology making it possible to put out, in essence, a video news release, there is no excuse for the decidedly old-school hammering of free speech and press by third parties, not to mention the hypocrisy of shutting down an invited guest's own techie communications to the public (as if the menu and festivities won't be disclosed eventually).
More to the point, the control the Obama state has put on its own fawning media, is another example of the left actually doing what it asserts conservatives do. In fact, its behavior is more like a paranoid third world regime. But what it doesn't understand, apparently, is that, just as with regimes, the more suppression, the more revelation. The more revelation, the more desperate and pathetic a government looks and becomes.