Obama apologist of the day
CJR's David Cay Johnston discovers that it takes a week of callling to get through to a human at the White House Press Office, and when he finally does, the person on the other end of the line won't spell his name or give his job title. And the second call goes even better:
A return call is answered by Priya Singh, who spells her name when asked, but does not know (or will not say) what her job title is and several times describes requests for information about how the Obama administration press office is operating as a “complaint” which she would pass on. She says she is not authorized to comment, though she at one point tells me she is a spokesperson.
Jeebus, who's minding the store, here? Dilbert's pointy-haired manager? Johnston has the temerity to point out that, gee, it might help Obama get his message out if the White House press office is actually able to, ya know, work, and of course that brings the OFB charging out of the box. There are many deserving candidates, but I think Countervail's is the best:
Maybe the individuals at the press office didn't want to answer your questions because you sounded like a smarmy old coot of a pedagogue wasting their time rather than a serious journalist inquiring about actual, relevant news with which they could assist. I would hope they had more urgent and important matters to deal with instead of indulging your fishing trip for leads on some kind of supposed internal failing or secretive operations at the department. In fact, isn't the irrelevant nature of your inquiry the exact thing that would prompt a reception fitting the narrative of your bogeyman tale?
If the Obama campaign and transition has shown us anything, it is that they are disciplined and focused on performance rather than the more frivolous aspects of typical Washington gamesmanship in dealing with the press and the public. I somehow doubt questioning the operations of the press department and the suppositions inferred in this article, especially two and a half weeks into the administration, qualifies as real news. A less indulgent person than those you spoke to would have told you to bug off. I can only imagine the eye-rolling and nicknames ("Professor Journalism is on the phone") associated with you now at the department, and rightly so. I wouldn't reply to your emails either.
Sweet jeebus. You'd think people who were "focused on performance" would be able to handle a phone call from a reporter without totally fucking it up. Or would be able to set up a press operation that worked from, er, Day 1. No wonder all these tax eruptions keep happening.
Glad to see the tone in Washington changing, though.
NOTE As predictable and predicted, the OFB will not change, now that they are "governing." What worked for them in the primaries, they will continue to do until stopped.