Evaluating Obama WH's relationship with the press
How does it differ from previous administrations?
- Duration 7:09
- Date Mar 5, 2013
How does it differ from previous administrations?
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There there the exchange that you wrote about a National Journal what was a pretty intense one and it one point you actually told the White House official which let me just say you have not -- -- not out of this person.
But she said stop emailing me all future emails from you will be on the record.
And and that's a pretty strong step to take to say look I'm no longer gonna protect you as a source if you call me if you talk to me your email me.
I'm gonna attributed to -- so there had to be something what was the turning point that you said this guys over the line.
And I'm just not -- -- Treat him as a protected source.
It it it was -- a combination of things going back several months more I felt like this person was being.
Trying to are hard to intimidate me and my reporters when I was editor in chief of a National Journal.
There was no or -- -- no no relationship a give and take it was all.
Combat all trying to explain why I was stupid why I was wrong.
Why can't I see the president as great as as this person could so I wasn't getting anything out of it except for a headache and a waste of time.
You know I think -- other reporters who might have a harder time deal -- that I want to set an example.
And I just didn't think it was you know why should I be tangled up -- -- so I I don't think it was that big of a step although it's something I've never done before I just told a person if you wanna call me anymore.
-- you need to know -- or email me.
Behave yourself because everything now is on the record.
Did he respond to you.
You have not got a response.
Bob Woodward who is about his legendary.
Washington reporter as is possible being.
Has had his own dust up over the last several -- days with the White House.
I've been somewhat amazed -- that a lot of the other White House reporters have sort of said well Woodward's blowing this out of proportion.
Is he blown it out.
Well -- I'm gonna do what I wish most reporters -- Don and said the story's not about Bob Woodward it's about the fact that.
I'm our government our leaders.
-- a deadline was coming -- -- they set the deadline both Republicans and Democrats.
Man let these these onerous hap -- poorly governed.
Take effect without even one serious budget negotiation.
That's what the stories about this week.
If you want to get into that conduct with a reporter again pull back the lends further it's not just about the conversation that Bob Woodward had.
But how is a White House and generally conducting itself with the media how is our house Republicans -- of conducting themselves with -- with the media how is immediate conducting themselves are we holding.
Our leaders accountable I think -- there's a reporter out there this week he's not reading a story this weekend.
That holds both sides accountable for the fiasco of this week they're not doing their job and that to me -- story.
The the role -- press you guys are supposed to be.
The people's watchdog.
Being the highs -- the ears not just for your publications but for the people so that democracy can actually work.
Is that view.
Pervasive in journalism today.
Now it's getting less and less as you know one of the changes -- talk about changes earlier on his.
Not only it's politics getting polarized -- so -- the media we have so many news organizations now and so many reporters working for these news organizations.
Who do have a partisan agenda -- and now it's even stated as part of their mission statement a part of their business model.
On the so what happens is there's less room.
In the middle for people who are taken shots -- both sides and I mean that I reporters should be.
Coming in every day thinking cook and I take off today.
Who is messing up that I can throw the yellow flag and there's fewer and fewer reporters who had the experience to do that and have the the the platform to do it in the end visibility from -- boss has to do it.
Ron I -- I've known -- 22 years.
I was said that a great reporter is one that when you read your story you know whether they like you were not.
You they make that the story might make you mad because it's the truth.
And it's something you didn't want people who now which are not personally medical reporter if you read this story and you know -- -- reporter feels.
Probably not very objective piece is that a fair assessment.
Very fair and it's one of the things that you have to train yourself as a reporter to do.
Two -- you we all have biases we all have personal opinions.
He really had a very candidate to pull that out of it and try to look at both sides of the story so then you can throw the flag on whatever side appears to be.
The most wrong.
The the challenge this White House has right now is that -- there there seems to be an incredible divide between the administration.
And congress in general I don't think just the Republicans -- a lot of the blame goes there but I hear Democrats in congress complained that they don't have much server relationship -- the White House either.
Do you hear that from people on the hill maybe not on the record they're not gonna go out there and be attributed.
It is that a fair assessment of the of this White House one of the things different then certainly Bill Clinton who was the ultimate treasure.
Yeah maybe to a detriment.
They'll definitely you're not just Republicans on the hill -- Republicans on case three Republicans who work in the consulting shops around town.
Republicans who advise -- White House from the house arms are Democrats Democrats on the hill Democrats on K street Democrats -- -- and they have -- jobs.
Even some Democrats Sorkin in and around the White House and they they wish at the president's for all his skills -- would -- we use them more to.
Engaged lawmakers of one on one in small groups listen to them.
-- listen to them listen than talk a little bit listen to them.
-- -- -- maybe spend a lot more time up on the hill and he has to actually healing time Eagles Leo is to give a speech.
-- has made a lot of those and I didn't think that's one of the things it's been very frustrating to a lot of the Republicans.
Do you see the future of journalism.
A good one are are we in real trouble here what what needs to happen so the journalism once again plays its role as the esteemed -- fourth estate.
I'm worried about new journalists have to any girls organizations need to realize that our job is to hold both sides accountable.
On the equally and with with fervor on both sides we need more people like a mutual friend of -- -- Duffy -- reporter who covered.
Cover day you governor I'm sure you remember her she just passed away right it at her funeral in Arkansas.
There were two governors who spoke on her behalf and your former Press Secretary Rex Nelson.
They all said that she was someone who whether they were scared -- when she walk up to him but they laughter.
They notion try to do her job every day but she didn't give him an ounce of benefit of the doubt that they were doing anything that that -- wasn't totally square.
Well I think it was fair to say that she -- good reporters was never star struck because of some office -- somebody held.
Ron Zarrella has seen her in the White House when -- yes that would have been thought I don't think even that all that pleasant for -- have -- the president would have been.
-- what -- it's a real pleasure to visit with you you know I didn't always like what you wrote about me.
But always thought it was at least fair and I mean that and I appreciate your being here today.
Thank you governor who feelings visuals -- thanks you thanks very much Ron forty.