Sometimes it’s hard to satirize the Obama Administration, because they do it to themselves. What could be funnier than Attorney General Eric Holder trying to set up off-the-record press meetings to massage the media coverage of his Associated Press and Fox News spying scandals?
The hilarity reached knee-slapping intensity when the media began refusing to join Holder behind closed doors. First, it was the Associated Press and the New York Times, as reported by the AP:
The Justice Department wants the meetings to be off the record. The Associated Press issued a statement saying it wants any meeting to be on the record, meaning it could be the subject of news stories. And The New York Times said it won’t attend because of the department’s off-the-record ground rules.
[…] AP media relations manager Erin Madigan White said that if the session is not on the record, the news cooperative will offer its views in an open letter on how Justice Department regulations should be updated.
If the AP’s meeting with the attorney general is on the record, AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll will attend, White said. She said AP expects its attorneys to be included in any planned meetings between the attorney general’s office and media lawyers on the legal specifics.
New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson said in a statement: “It isn’t appropriate for us to attend an off the record meeting with the attorney general. Our Washington bureau is aggressively covering the department’s handling of leak investigations at this time.”
Then CNN and the Huffington Post also “declined the invitation”:
Like the New York Times and the Associated Press, CNN will decline the invitation for an off-the-record meeting. A CNN spokesperson says if the meeting with the attorney general is on the record, CNN would plan to participate.
The Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief, Ryan Grim, also said he will not attend unless the meeting is on the record. “A conversation specifically about the freedom of the press should be an open one. We have a responsibility not to betray that,” Grim told CNN.
According to the CNN blog post, Politico editor-in-chief John Harris has agreed to attend Holder’s off-the-record briefings. Earlier reports indicated that Roger Simon of Politico, along with Ron Fournier of National Journal, had expressed support for the AP and New York Times refusing to attend.
Wait, it gets funnier. To the astonishment of many observers, here’s Democratic National Committee communications director Brad Woodhouse castigating those who refused to meet with Holder:
POTUS asked AG to review how leak investigations are done but some in the media refuse to meet with him. Kind of forfeits your right gripe.
??? Brad Woodhouse (@woodhouseb) May 29, 2013
What an interesting glimpse into the Obama-bot mindset! They have rather particular ideas about who has the right to keep and bear gripes, don’t they? As if the response to Holder’s outrageous actions against freedom of the press, and his false testimony before Congress on the matter, amount to nothing more than a bit of grousing from a few malcontents!
To every media organization that has yet to refuse the Attorney Genera’s invitation: What’s wrong with you? Have you no self-respect? Do you really want to be the last to assert your dignity and independence by telling Holder to pound sand?
Update: It looks like Fox News will attend, according to Business Insider, along with the Washington Post. Fox News host Greta van Susteren advocates the obvious choice for the reporter her network should send:
What if only Fox News shows up? send James Rosen! Now that would be funny! http://t.co/DWuDmHUi1l
??? Greta Van Susteren (@gretawire) May 30, 2013
Update: Either Business Insider had it wrong, there was some dissent in the Fox News ranks, or Fox changed its mind, because according to Brett Baier, they won’t be joining Eric Holder in the Cone of Silence after all:
Decision: Fox News??? Executive Vice President Michael Clemente has said that Fox News will NOT attend the DOJ meeting if it is OFF the record
??? Bret Baier (@BretBaier) May 30, 2013