A new study by the Columbia Journalism Review has reported that the relationship between the White House and the press is the least open it’s ever been–and that’s coming directly from frustrated journalists themselves.
After what CJR describes as an “exhaustive study of every official exchange Obama had with the press corps in 2014,” as well as interviews with a number of current and former White House correspondents, they’ve discovered that the Obama Administration is working hard to hide many of its actions from the press.
In 2014, Obama gave just five solo press conferences. By comparison, John F. Kennedy held 23 press conferences per year during his term as President.
High-profile White House correspondents are becoming increasingly vocal about their frustration with a secretive administration.
Peter Baker, a White House correspondent for The New York Times, even admits, “The people who cover the president know him the least.”
And U.S. News and World Report’s Kenneth Walsh, who has been a White House correspondent since the Reagan Administration, agrees: “Something really important has gone missing, understanding the president and having both sides trust each other enough so [the press] understands what’s going on. We don’t understand him as well as we should, and I think the country loses because of that.”
This is a far cry from the often-fawning press attention that Barack Obama would receive during his successful 2008 campaign for President–when talking heads like MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who famously claimed to get a “thrill up [his] leg” during an Obama speech–and could serve as a turning point in the notoriously-favorable press attention Obama has received in the past.
In the meantime, Obama and his Administration shows little signs of fixing their relationship with the press–which means journalists and Americans alike can continue to expect the same stonewalling and hidden agendas that have defined the last six years.