Shocker: Obama Staffers Attend Secret Dinners With Lefty Media


By: Warner Todd Huston

The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz has let the cat out of the bag in the Post’s April 27 issue about a regularly scheduled secret media dinner attended by some of the top left-wing journalists in the country. But it isn’t just the lefty scribblers that have attended these secret, off-the-record dinners for these gatherings have each featured a guest. Rahm Emanuel, Sec. of the Treasury Tim Geithner, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke have all recently had their chance to schmooze the press and guide them with the spin desired by the White House.

So, not only does Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have secret daily phone calls with which to program the media’s coverage of the White House, now it is revealed that Emanuel and other Obama staffers have been attending secret dinners to help the press “understand” what the White House wants reported? As Kurtz says, it all sounds “rather cozy,” doesn’t it?

The secret dinners for Obama staffers and his boosters in the Old Media have been going on for “more than a year” and are sponsored by David Bradley, the owner of the Atlantic. In attendance have been some of the most well known lefty journalists in Washington. Not surprisingly, not a single name mentioned in the Kurtz report is conservative.

Among those in regular attendance are David Brooks and Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, Gene Robinson and Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, NBC’s David Gregory, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, PBS’s Gwen Ifill, the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, Vanity Fair’s Todd Purdum, former Time managing editor Walter Isaacson and staffers from Bradley’s Atlantic and National Journal, including Ron Brownstein, Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch.

No Brit Hume, no George Will, not even a Charles Krauthammer? Shocking, eh? Or more like expected.

Kurtz tries to liken these secret media programing dinners to those long-held dinners put on by Godfrey Sperling until he retired from the Christian Science Monitor. But those dinners were not secret, were on the record, and were also not by invite only as are the Atlantic’s dinners. Kurtz also mentions the famed 3-hour-long dinner that Obama had with conservative media types during the transition phase of his presidency, but this is also lacking as a direct comparison. That dinner was also not secret, nor is it a recurring meeting.

Kurtz also reports that a few Bush folks have been invited to the dinner. Carl Rove is mentioned, but one rather assumes he had long since left the Bush White Hose before that invite came. From Kurtz’ reporting, it seems rather clear that this secret dinner has been rather more left-leaning than not. I suppose that isn’t too surprising, however, seeing as how the dinner regulars are of such ideological similarity.

Anyway, what we see from this is more proof of the insular, even incestuous, world the Old Media inhabit. From Emanuel’s secret daily phone calls, to the “journolist” — a secret lefty website message board they all collude on — now to secret dinners, it all seems “rather cozy,” indeed. And all this secrecy also belies the Old Media’s claims that “transparency” is as important as they keep claiming it is. They want the government to be open and transparent, they want Fox News to prove who it funds and supports, yet all the while as the Old Media tsks everyone else for not be transparent, they themselves have had secret phone calls, secret message boards and secret dinners.

Not only “cozy” but hypocritical, too.

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