Texas Monthly has an interview with Dan Bartlett
, former counselor to the president and someone who worked for George W. Bush since the early 1990s. He revealed some interesting attitudes toward bloggers, and the press in general. When asked about conservative bloggers and their influence, he reportedly said:
That’s what I mean by influential. I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.
In other words, he doesn't seem to consider the conservative blog machine as a critical part of the press. (If that's true, I would bet that the same thing could be said for liberal bloggers.) And as far as the reputation of Fox News being in bed with the White House, he said this:
I’ll tell you, I probably got more complaints from various Fox News programs about not getting the type of access they deserved. Now, there are exceptions to that. Vice President Cheney’s done a lot with them. But I think they were treated pretty equally across the board. If you look at the major newscasters, there were some, like [Dan] Rather, that we didn’t do. You’d be hard-pressed to say that we didn’t accommodate the others.
Notice two things. One is that he talked about Fox not getting "the type of access they deserved," not that they wanted. To me, the words carry the message that either Fox was getting slighted (whether other networks were or not would be impossible to say), or that their coverage should have called for better treatment - not what you want to hear about a "fair and balanced" organization. And on Iraq? "We were wrong" on the intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. Now there's a word I haven't heard from the White House too often.
Labels: blogging, Politics