Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Obama finds virtual end-around to bypass the White House press

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Obama finds virtual end-around to bypass the White House press


 "Obama finds virtual end-around to bypass the White House press"
by Sarah Khalily 
 
President Obama has long been known for using technology to connect directly with Americans. On January 30, 2012 Obama took his technological efforts to new heights by holding “his first completely virtual interview” – in a “hangout” on Google+. 

In this article, Arnie Parnes, a reporter for TheHill.com, lamented Obama’s seeming avoidance of the White House press corps. Parnes emphasized that the president’s choice of news outlets had been “hand-picked” – deliberate choices to allow the White House to keep control over what sort of questions are asked and which topics are covered.

While the White House denied having control over which questions get asked, Parnes clearly did not believe that to be the case. The article mentioned how Obama had not held a press conference since the previous October and how he had had fewer “short answer” sessions with reporters than both of his predecessors. Obama seems to prefer interviews and one-on-one interaction to facing questions from a large group of members of the press.

Dealing directly with the public in a new media forum is not said to be a bad thing, but the desire from the press seems to be that it not be the only method of communication. The article closes by emphasizing that Obama is not the first president to avoid press conferences – as far back as Eisenhower they have preferred to deal directly with the people. The benefit, for Obama, is that new media makes direct communication much easier than it had been for past presidents.

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