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After the smack-down Blitzer suffered at the hands of the Good Doctor Dean, Wolfie must have made a bee-line to the spa at the King David hotel for some soothing relief. In the December issue of Travel and Leisure, Wolf confides, "I am a deep-tissue massage kind of guy."

That may not seem too relevant to this morning's contretemps, but the next point he makes is, I think, when he informs the  travel and leisure class that, while he normally flies British    Airways, "really, I love Air Force One. There is an area in the back for the press with first-class seats and good movies. On a long flight, the president might invite you up front to spend time with him or his chief of staff.

If there is one thing the Bush dynasty understands, it's coddling journalists. And Wolf is just the leader of the pack.

In the Travel and Leisure Fast Talk interview, Blitzer continues: When I fly on Air Force One I realize how luck I am - I have a front-row seat to history." It's only natural, that he would have a natural bias to defend the folks who provide him with such great seats.

This is an issue that is not always understood for what it is. The Bush White House apparatchiki - 41 and 43 - have always been experts at providing perks to journalists as a way of embedding them into the culture of corruption that has overtaken Washington.

It was the same way all the way back in chimpie's father's time. And it remains true today.

In between, the Clintons did not comprehend how important it was to buy off the White House Press and when they took over at the White House, they shut down the gravy train where journalists had a first-class sleeper berth.

Few among us may recall, before Whitewater, there was a "scandal" called Travelgate, in which the Clinton White House was accused of mishandling the dismissal of the beloved handlers who had been booking all of the first class accomodations for the traveling press corps. Back in 1996, in the days before the blogosphere helped to watchdog the cozy excesses of the Washington Press crowd, Joe Conason had a remarkable account of what really happened in the White House Travel Office in the Columbia Journalism Review.

As Conason points out in his CJR article:

"Because the people who ran the office had catered faithfully to the needs and desires of the White House press, most of this is ignored by the media. Instead, when the implicated director is fired and eventually prosecuted by the Justice Department, he becomes a victimized hero in the national media, and the officials who fired him become the villains."

Why did the Clinton Presidency flame out so dramatically? There are many reasons. But one of the first fundamental mistakes came when they failed to massage the press.

And that was a very big mistake. As Wolf Blitzer likes to say. "I am a deep-tissue massage kind of guy."

Originally posted to fairnbalanced on Sun Jan 08, 2006 at 10:12 PM PST.

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