CBS's Bill Plante Laments Obama's Strict Grip on Media, Mourns for When 'The News Was What We Said It Was'
By Tim Graham
Longtime CBS reporter Bill Plante gave an interview to Steve Johnson at his hometown Chicago Tribune and discussed how we face a “state-run media” in recent years. It began under Bush, he suggested.
“He was neither as stupid or as disconnected as people thought, not at all. If he saw somebody leaking he didn't like it,” Plante said. “And this president doesn't like it any more than that.” He said it’s “just a lot harder” to get information now from squabbling camps inside the White House staff. So Plante made waves last year when he said Obama was undercutting the First Amendment and defining what the news was:
Q: You stirred up a little bit of controversy with a comment not too long about about the Obama administration and the lack of access that White House reporters are actually getting to the president. I think you used the phrase, "state-run media."
A: Right. Yeah, I did that on CNN. It was very deliberate. We have an issue, and we had it to a certain extent with the Bush administration. The roots of it — let me tell you a story. Mike Deaver, who was Reagan's image guy, told me at the beginning of the Reagan administration, he said, "You know, we're gonna go over your heads and speak directly to the public because the president is very good at that." I said, "O.K., fine. Go ahead." But in fact we — and the (Associated Press) — still controlled the news flow. The news was what we said it was.
But now, any administration, certainly beginning with W. Bush and now this one, has all the tools at their own disposal. I think what I was talking about that day, specifically, was something that took place just in the last year or so. The White House now posts photos taken by White House photographers on Flickr and makes them available to news outlets of events to which regular photographers are not invited. They also do video of events which are not eligible for covereage by those of us who cover the place, even the pool. These videos are released every Friday. Much of it is innocuous, but the point is, it's private. So that's how I got off into the state-run media rant — which was very deliberate. "It's the equivalent of," I think is what I said.
Not quite. He said "If they put out their own material, it's state-run media." It's true that the White House creates more of its own pre-made products and limits photographers' access. But that doesn't mean the networks have to lap it up, which they often do.
For the last several years, big name news outlets have actually had to ask the Whitehouse for permission to run certain stories.
Now we have some old timers whining about the State Run Media?
Where the Hell were these people ten or twenty years ago when all this started?
I'll tell you where, sucking up and repeating what was told to them by the infamous 'Unnamed Sources" in the government.
Investigative journalism is dead and buried in this country.
The government has a stranglehold on what you see and hear for what passes as news here.
What you consume for news has to be parsed and scrutinized for what they AREN'T telling you.
If you have an IQ above room temperature, you go straight outside the borders here for any news worth reading.
The worst part?
Try doing a scan of every news source you can think of for about fifteen minutes and you will see that every stinking one of them is nothing more than a repeating station for the Associated Press. The AP puts out a news blast and every major outlet in the country is repeating it within the hour.
Don't believe me?
Try watching the news on television for different cities in different time zones and you will see every damn one of them repeating exactly the same stories, ver batim. I have seen it hundreds of times.
Different channel, different city, different talking head, same story.
Every. Single. Day..
I think Reuters does quite a bit of their own stuff and the BBC has things you won't see on any U.S. outlet occasionally.
Other than that, it is a desert out there.
That is the beauty of the internet.
So far, you can access literally hundreds of Alternative News Sites.
I strongly suggest you do.
Don't get the impression that I don't pay close attention to the domestic news because I do.
I just do it to be able to compare what is and isn't being sanitized.
This guy lamenting the fact that reporters are being shut out of the Whitehouse and his ilk should get a clue and go back to what news reporters used to do for a living instead of sitting on their asses waiting for someone to hand them the talking points of the day.
The Main Stream News conglomerations have absolutely no one to blame but themselves for the situation they find themselves in now.