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Posted by on Jan 26, 2007 in Politics | 15 comments


Dana Milbank described for the Washington Post, the way the White House deals with the Press. The foundation of the article: the testimony of Cathie Martin in the “perjury trial of former Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.”

It’s simple: coddle those who report the news as you want them to report it, exclude those who are actually critical.

Besides that: Tim Russert is, in the words of AMERICAblog “a push-over” and always release bad news Friday night: people don’t pay attention to it on Saturday morning.

Although some might criticize the White House about using Tim Russert for instance and releasing bad news on Friday… I cannot possibly do so myself. It’s smart politics. If I were an advisor to the President, I would advise to release bad news on Friday evening as well and I would also advise the VP to appear on shows that actually make him look good, or at least not bad.

You can read empywheel’s live report of Martin’s testimony here, and here and here.

Also be sure to read this article at FireDogLake (by Christin herself) : it’s a rough trial, so it seems.

And, lastly, the New York Times: Martin directly contradicts Libby on when he first learned about Valerie Plame Wilson.

Yep Karma definitely is a b—-

Joe adds in the comment section of this post:
This is going to put some pressure on Russert. As someone who was in the media and worked for some excellent editors (the ones I reported to at the Monitor plus the ones at the Knight Ridder and Copley Newspapers I worked with) management does NOT like to hear that news sources want to talk to X reporter (no matter how big they are) because they help them get their message across and are easy ones to be interviewed by. Now, it’s clear from this week and this report, if Cheney has to do one TV interview show who is he going to pick? Tim Russert or CNN’s Wolf Blitzer? It’s a “given� that if it was radio he’d rather talk with Sean Hannity (although having the person who is interviewing you on the floor bowing down to you can be a bit awkward) than Ed Schultz. As you say, Michael, it IS good politics. The other end of this, though, is that Russert is going to HAVE to get tougher on Cheney and other administration officials now. It isn’t a matter of politics; it’s a matter of his personal reputation and his own journalistic standards (which are high despite his critics comments on the right and left when they don’t like an interview he did). Russert is no pushover. He was a top staffer for the late Senator Moynihan.
This memo will also make the media a LOT more skeptical of Friday news releases. Many assumed all of this that’s in this memo; now it’s out in the open. And the media will most assuredly adjust its behavior accordingly. No one likes to KNOW they have been “taken,� even if for a long time they suspected they were being taken.

I agree completely with what Joe wrote: although it is smart politics, it is dumb reporting. If politicians have favorite reporters (who they use like this), there is something wrong with the way those reporters cover the news / politics in general. I’d almost say that politicians have to fear journalists.

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