White House v. California Press


As a California journalist, President Obama's visit to our state left me with an unmistakable impression:

This White House would like me to drop dead.

And maybe the rest of California with me.

What other conclusion could one reach after watching the president's imperial swing through the state?

In Southern California, he snarled rush-hour traffic in the heart of the city so he could stop for chicken and waffles, before heading over to two fundraising events at the homes of Hollywood stars.

He didn't address the state's troubles -- or the questions of journalists in the largest media market of the nation's largest state. (He did talk to Jay Leno).

In Northern California, he barred local reporters from covering his San Francisco event.

Since this means less coverage (and usually less critical coverage, compared to that received from national media), this decision made little sense.

The White House sent a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, which has had gloriously indignant coverage of this snub, that this was "usual" policy.

That statement is totally bunk -- presidents on the road usually court local reporters, in order to get more press coverage. Local coverage tends to be more favorable than national coverage.

There is no rational explanation for this behavior, which is probably why the White House didn't respond to requests for comment.

But it suggests a couple of things: 

1. The White House press operation doesn't know what it's doing.

2. This White House is more insular than is commonly portrayed.

3. That President Obama's promises to have the "most transparent administration" in American history are laughable.

It's enough to make you wonder if California is still part of the United States. Or did I miss something in the health care bill?

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