Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi wrote a piece on Wednesday that sounded congratulatory. It seems the Biden White House has established “message discipline” and prevented negative leaking from the staff:
Where did all the juicy insider accounts go? How a cadre of close-knit presidential aides shut down the West Wing gossip pipeline.
After two and a half months of Joe Biden’s presidency, something is missing from the news coverage of his administration: leaks.
Juicy details about the president’s behind-the-scenes conduct and decision-making? No one seems able to dig up anything interesting.
An anonymous White House reporter was summoned to call Biden’s White House “effectively a leakproof operation.” That made the headline inside the Style section. Is that really a necessary use of anonymous sourcing? Anonymous congratulations for non-transparency? Competence at crackdowns?
There is no doubt that the chaos and inexperience of the Trump White House led to a lot more leaking. But Farhi’s story is leaving out another important element: ideology.
When Trump won, the Post adopted the screamy slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” When Biden won, the tone of the press corps changed to “Democracy Dances at the Disco,” followed by “Democracy Takes a Long, Luxurious Bubble Bath.”
Biden’s press avoidance was explained as a positive strategy:
The Biden camp’s close-to-the vest strategy in the White House is a continuation of its approach during the late stages of his campaign, during which Biden didn’t appear in public for weeks at a time. The message discipline seems part of a conscious strategy to maintain a lower profile and project an image of calm as Biden and his team grapple with the pandemic and its economic fallout. The low-visibility approach was evident in Biden’s decision to wait longer than any other new president of the past century to give his first news conference.
And even then, the reporters were embarrassing, telling Biden that we had a rush to the border because he’s seen as a “moral, decent man.”
There are zero critics in this piece (and Farhi knows our number). The closest you get is ABC reporter Jon Karl saying gee, we need to keep digging. “Reporters need to work hard to give readers and viewers a sense of what is really going on in the White House,” he said.
Farhi added that Trump leaking was so prodigious it led to “tell-all” books by anti-Trump authors like Michael Wolff and even a book written by “Anonymous” warning of Trump’s horrible ways….a book deal struck after “Anonymous” Miles Taylor was allowed to write an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times. We could throw in that Post reporters wrote a negative book on Trump during the 2016 campaign….and no book on Hillary Clinton.
Once again, that’s ideology — of the book publishing industry, and those who provide it publicity. Would any of the liberal media outlets be interested in a “tell-all” book on the horrors of the Biden administration? Does anyone remember a nasty insider “tell-all” on Team Obama? Or on Team Clinton?
The closest you might get is one of those dreadful, toothless Bob Woodward books where the Republicans are still the villains. Farhi explained in his story that Post reporter Carol Leonnig is hard at work…writing another negative book on Trump.