Monday, March 8, 2010

White House Brushes Aside Media Scrutiny

The White House continues to brush aside media scrutiny that portrays conflict and ineffectiveness among President Obama's senior staff. Several of the articles have portrayed Rahm Emanuel as a pragmatic moderate and Obama's other staff members, particularly Valarie Jarrett and David Axelrod, as Obama-worshippers who are unfamiliar with the grit of Washington.

Axelrod, whom the New York Times recently portrayed as being weary from the job, argues that no one outside of Washington cares about the scrutiny. A Politico article quotes Axelrod as saying:
This is what Washington does — it gets itself into a tizzy . . . We dismiss it for what it is. There aren’t 10 people outside of Washington who give a rat’s ass about any of this. They’ve got bigger stuff to worry about, and we’re trying to worry about that. The same people who are all in a tizzy right now are the same people who called us idiots for the better part of two years.
According to Politico more White House scrutiny will take place in the near future:
And it’s not over: The New York Times magazine has an Emanuel profile by Peter Baker scheduled for publication soon. Emanuel and his brother Zeke, a health-care expert with the White House Office of Management and Budget, sat for an interview by CBS’s Katie Couric that’s scheduled to air on “60 Minutes” on March 21.
Two Points
First: Interestingly, none of this abundant scrutiny focuses on President Obama.

Second: Axelrod's dismissive response is either political grandstanding or a sign that he is tone deaf. Although he is right that a majority of the public does not focus on the daily workings of the White House, voters now oppose many of Obama's proposals that they once favored. This sounds like a communications problem, which only the White House can repair. Even if the journalistic accounts are wrong in substance, this does not mean that the White House is above criticism or errors.

See also: Faux White House Intrigue Obscures Deeper Disarray


Anonymous said...

Al Hunt (in "Faux WH Intrigue...") nailed it, IMO.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Yes, it is a great article. I think the main issues are: 1. the meltdown in strategic communication and 2. the under-utilization of Cabinet members.

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