Today Jay Rosen on PressThink examines Scott McClellan’s revelations through the prism of 100 years’ worth of press secretaries.
Rosen argues that by placing a special quarters for reporters in the White House in 1902, Theodore Roosevelt sparked the modern era in presidential press think — “the press got invited into the heart of the presidency and the nature of presidential power shifted.”
Rosen says that Roosevelt had grasped that “a national media system, then emergent, needed a big national narrative, and the President would be the main character in that narrative because, once elected, he alone stands for—as well before—the country as a whole.”
But that all ended when the Bush administration moved in.
“Bush engineered a strategic shift,” says Rosen, “… sensing an institution in decline and uncomfortable with interlocutors of any type, they decided to return the press to where it stood before McKinley: effectively out in the cold.”
McClellan played a leading role in this shift, Rosen argues. But importantly, “he seems to have had a change of heart about it, which is important to whether the change becomes permanent or fades with Cheney and Bush gone.”
Read the full post — it’s a fascinating comment on how the Bush administration fundamentally changed the nature of the presidency v press relationship.
Meanwhile, Stop Press! John McCain might have a cold.
The victim complex. The Clintons and their most ardent supporters are convinced that they have been victimized—by the press, by the process, by the Obama campaign. But the reality is that the most influential voices in the press and within the Democratic Party, to say nothing of Obama himself, have been fairly deferential. — Steve Kornacki, The New York Observer
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McClellan’s reality … what appears to be Scott’s existential journey has led him to make sweeping and reckless allegations that are at odds with reality. He would have us believe that the Bush administration was, at bottom, massively and deeply deceitful and corrupt — but this has only dawned on Scott since he started writing his book, years after the fact. Let’s just say that for these revelations to spring forth as if truth were like a time-released capsule, in which things magically get clearer with the passage of time (and the signing of book contracts), is, well, suspicious. — National Review Online
The presidency and intelligence. There are sixteen official agencies which collect and analyze intelligence data for the federal government of the United States of America. Most Americans are unaware of all but a few of them, and even knowledgeable people often fail to understand what each agency does, and the significance of the Presidency on how they operate. The President who takes office in 2009 will redirect intelligence priorities and allocate resources to suit his preferences, a fact which has significant value to the character and effectiveness of U.S. intelligence. — Wizbang
Is he sick, or not? Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign caused a bit of a buzz when it abruptly sent out an e-mail to reporters Thursday saying his public events the following day—a town hall and news conference–in Pennsylvania were being canceled. Several political bloggers reported he had a cold and was feeling under the weather, citing unnamed campaign aides. An aide also confirmed to The Times that Mr. McCain has a cold. But Brooke Buchanan, Mr. McCain’s traveling press secretary, hurried over to reporters before a town hall meeting here and told them the senator was not sick at all. — The Caucus, NY Times