“All Presidents complain about the press” : Interesting New Yorker article from 2004

Barring the press because you don’t like what they write is an act of cowardice. The current President of the US is a coward.

The above is what I posted on my personal Facebook account as soon as I heard that Trump had barred the NY Times, CNN & the BBC from a press briefing.   I was pretty angry.  But then I remembered that even President Obama had issues with the press at times, so I did a bit of research, and I came across this article in the New Yorker from 2004.

It comprises an interview with writer Ken Auletta on the relationship between then-President George W Bush and the media – remember, this was the era of “weapons of mass destruction” and the neo-cons’ determination to invade Iraq.

DANIEL CAPPELLO: All Presidents complain about the press. How is the Bush White House different?

KEN AULETTA: In two ways. They are more disciplined. They reject an assumption embraced by most reporters: that we are neutral and represent the public interest. Rather, they see the press as just another special interest. The discipline flows down from President Bush, who runs the White House like a C.E.O. and demands loyalty. This is a cohesive White House staff, dominated by people whose first loyalty is to Team Bush. When Bush leaves the White House, most of his aides will probably return to Texas. They are not Washington careerists, and thus they have less need to puff themselves up with the Washington press corps. In fact—and this leads to the second difference—from Bush on down, talking to the press off the record is generally frowned upon and equated with leaking, which is a deadly sin in the Bush White House (unless it is a leak manufactured to advance the President’s agenda).

So clearly a fractious relationship with the press is far from a novelty, but you can’t deny that Trump has brought it to a whole new level.