Barack Obama’s “Publish First, Filter Later” Presidency

[Image of President Barack Obama and family leaving Ghana in July courtesy: The Official White House Photostream]

Is President Barack Obama in the media too much? It is a question being tossed around quite a lot as of late, and is the complete opposite of what many thought about President George W. Bush and his administration: they weren’t in the media enough.

This week’s New York magazine cover story by Jennifer Senior looks at the “publish first, filter later” Obama administration. However, one should not confuse a deluge of media appearances and constant use of social media with not controlling the message. Writes Senior:

Though the president may be liberal with his media appearances, his relationship with the traditional White House press corps is complicated. The Obama administration runs a very disciplined press operation. Its aides almost never leak, unless it’s deliberate. It’s highly selective about access (during the transition, The New York Times White House team didn’t get the usual sit-down interview).

Senior goes on to state that the President realizes, “in the same way a blog can’t survive on just one post a day, a presidency can no longer survive on one message per day or one press conference per year. Instead, you have to turn on a fire hose.” But will the American public sour of these tactics? As of now, it doesn’t seem to be the case. For the first half of the year, “Obama’s approval rating was above 50% in all but two states, Wyoming and Alaska,” according to Gallup, and despite a slight dip in recent weeks, it has rebounded back to almost 60%.

But the administration finds itself in a rare position on the issue of health-care reform: the defensive. The administration understands that it needs to counter attacks in recent weeks from conservative groups and media, including Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. “There’s a whole set of rumors that the old playbook would tell you not to do anything about because you draw attention…The lesson we’ve learned is you ignore these rumors at your peril, and the right answer is to take them head on in as big a way as possible,” White House deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer told The New York Times.