Thursday, December 10, 2009

How The News Media Fell Down On The Job Over The White House Gate Crashing

NBC didn't pay - but that's not the full story

NBC didn't pay - but that's not the full story

Some news media outlets did a good job investigating security failings that allowed two wanna-be socialites to crash a state dinner at the White House. But others in the news media failed to live up to their public trust.

That's the conclusion of a report by Accuracy in Media analyst Roger Aronoff - who also criticizes the Obama administration for refusing to allow White House social secretary Desirée Rogers and other staffers to testify before the Homeland Security Committee. He called on the national media to further investigate what White House officials might be trying to hide.

“One thing is certain: As Obama works feverishly to pass health care legislation, the White House doesn't want a growing scandal involving the president's staff to occupy the attention of the media and Congress," Aronoff wrote.

"The Democrats who control Congress can be expected to fall into line. These are times that demand an investigative press unwilling to play lap dog to the White House,” Aronoff wrote.

Aronoff gave credit to some members of the national press, who have generally been supportive of the president, for speaking out on the White House’s lack of transparency. They include CNN’s Anderson Cooper, David Gergen and Ed Henry, and The Chicago Tribune editorial board.

On the other hand, he pointed out that NBC’s Matt Lauer failed to disclose a conflict of interest when he interviewed Tareq and Michaele Salahi on The Today Show. Though the Salahis stated on the air that they were not paid in any way for the NBC interview, in fact they were under contract with Bravo, a subsidiary of NBC Universal, which prevented them from appearing on other shows.

Though Aronoff expected most Democrats in Congress to fall in line with the administration, he did recognize Reps. Chris Carney (D-PA) and Al Green (D-TX) for asking tough questions and calling for transparency from the White House.

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Photo/NBC Today Show

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