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Regarding your recent meeting with the President:

Journalists make a profession of agitating for openness, for the sharing of information, for speaking with public officials and reporting back. In this case, though, attendees aren’t doing a lot of reporting back. Most of MSNBC’s prime time lineup — Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell — attended the Tuesday session, yet MSNBC won’t talk about it. Two individuals from the opinions section of The Washington Post — Jonathan Capehart and Greg Sargent — had seats at the table but won’t tell a dear colleague what went down. A spokeswoman for Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, another alleged attendee, gave this response: “Since the meeting was off the record, Josh is not available to speak about it.” Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame also allegedly took part and also won’t talk: “Sorry, but I don’t discuss who I do and don’t meet with. Thanks, markos,” he e-mailed to the Erik Wemple Blog.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

I simply cite this story and query why?  Are we journalists or in the beltway insiders at this point?  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

    by Publius2008 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:56:12 AM PST

  •  I didn't know about this meeting (7+ / 0-)

    When did it take place? And why would journalists or bloggers agree to meet with politicians and leaders under strict confidentiality terms? How is this journalism? Were they told about certain things that the WH doesn't want the public to know about, that they claimed justified the various policy moves they were making and that if the public did know about it, would make it see things in a very different light? And if so, and even if such a justification had merit, we'll never know about it, or be in a position to verify it for ourselves. This is basically "trust us, we know what we're doing", but once removed. Which is incompatible with democracy.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:07:14 AM PST

      •  Secrecy is compatible with democracy? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Hamlet, ZhenRen

        Really? Huh.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:35:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure it is (8+ / 0-)

          For example, you have privacy rights.

          •  Not in the process of it (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Farugia, JesseCW, Mr Robert

            Or were were all wrong to demand that Cheney tell us what was discussed in that secret meeting he held early in Bush's first term with energy industry execs?

            Why is secrecy only bad when the other side engages in it?

            I believe that Greenwald, whom I know you respect, would agree with me on this.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:47:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Heh (9+ / 0-)

              Two points:  I for one was not yelling about Cheney's secret meetings. There are secret meetings in government ALL THE TIme! The transparency BS is just that. BS. What nmeeds to be done in public is actual governing and I would trade access to transcripts of meetings for frank discussion of issues from journalists.

              But even this example is riduclous - you are really comparing a meeting with journalists with a meeting with lenergy lobbyists desigining legislation? Surely you jest.

              •  Judgment is key. E.g., fiscal cliff negotiations. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                2questions, grrr, JesseCW, joe shikspack

                We must distinguish between:

                1. Things people in government or journalism have a right to keep from the public.

                2. Things people in government or journalism would be wiser to make public.

                F'rinstance, while I understand why the negotiations on the fiscal cliff are kept private, and that the negotiators have a right to keep them private, I think that's stupid. The Dems are passing up a huge opportunity here. I'd love to see the Dems post a summary of every offer and counter-offer on the web, and hold press conferences to highlight the major points. This would:

                A. Ensure the Dems are doing things they can defend.

                B. Expose the GOP's bullshit as bullshit. (And perhaps hasten the day when the GOP becomes more reality-based.)

                C. Get the Dems major points for openness.

                OTOH there are other matters that lawmakers & journalists either have a right to keep private or would be wise to keep private.

                I doubt anything more than mutual ego-stroking goes on in private politco-journo meetings, though I'd like to hear from Kos something about what value he sees in them, even if he says nothing about the specifics of this one.

                "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                by HeyMikey on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:16:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Well, I was (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JesseCW

                Hell, I'm pissed off that the freaking constitutional convention was held in such secrecy, which is part of why it's so freaking conservative and continues to hold us back till this day. To it we owe the anti-democratic senate and electoral college, the scourge of gerrymandering (since districting was left to the states), and of course slavery. And yes, I know that without this secrecy we likely would never have had a constitution and the sourthern states would have just walked off, but the older I get the more convinced I am that that would have been a good thing for all. Slavery would have died out anyway but we wouldn't have had a Civil War.

                But I digress. Yes, I think that secrecy is bad for democracy. Surely you don't support the way that the states secrets privilege (let alone the even more silly executive privilege) has been exploited to avoid judicial review by both parties?

                And no, I don't jest. If he was trying to influence coverage and cut implicit deals for implied quid pro quo, it's bad for democracy and a stain on the media (if said media complies with it, and clearly it has in the past).

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:32:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Of course he's trying to influence coverage. Why (0+ / 0-)

                  else would one want to meet with journalists?

                  So what?  

                  Wouldn't you?  There's a war of ideas going on.  Wanna lose?

                  •  Hmm, I kind of thought that the way to do it (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JesseCW, apimomfan2, joanneleon

                    was with smart and strong policy and politics, and having your own effective messaging operation independant of a hopefully independant media. Kind of pathetic IMO to try to recruit the latter to do your propagandizing. Hopefully, most of them were smart and principled enough to see through the ruse.

                    Instead of continually trying to reach a safe and easy "middle ground" with the other side (that curiously is always better for them than the country) and selling it as "pragmatism", how about actually fighting for what's best for the country and using THAT as PR? Voters don't like a principled fighter? News to me.

                    As usual, he's opting for easy finesse over actual political combat.

                    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                    by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:32:41 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  With energy lobbyists planning a war. Just a wee (0+ / 0-)

                bit different.

            •  kovie - Cheney had no duty to tell us anything (0+ / 0-)

              about who was at the energy meetings or what was discussed. And the courts agreed. Just like Hillary had no duty to tell us who was at her healthcare summits that she had in private while working on her plan. If the White House invites a small group of journalists in for a conversation that is off the record, those who accept those terms and attend have no duty to breach the agreed upon confidentiality. Federal office holders have no "sunshine" rules and no duty to disclose private conversations and journalists who have private conversations have no duty to share them with us.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 12:53:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's more of a moral than a legal thing (0+ / 0-)

                But I'd like it to be a legal thing too when it comes to private meetings with commercial interests. I'm 100% with Brandeis on this. Policy that gets made in the dark tends to be bad policy. It's one thing for politicians to prefer to keep their discussions with each other private. It's another thing when the CEOs of Halliburton, Chevron and Lockheed Martin want to keep their discussions with elected leaders private. Bad things come of that.

                As for secret meetings with bloggers, obviously that's perfectly legal and should stay so. But I still find it to be troubling. What on earth could they be talking about that we shouldn't know about? It undermines their independance or at least the appearance of it, without which they lose credibility.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:53:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Governments aren't persons. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZhenRen, joe shikspack

            But then, you knew that.

            This place needs a PVP server.

            by JesseCW on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 02:28:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Kos (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote

        Armando- While some present at that meeting were jounalists I don't see Markos that way. I view him as a political  activist who has a very popular blog.Am I wrong in this thought? If I'm right no one should expect comment from Markos.

      •  incompatible with something... (0+ / 0-)

        i remember back when we were "crashing the gates."  well, it appears that markos has gotten his wish and is inside the gate.  the question is whether he is going to hold the gate open and let the rest of us in.

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:27:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing new about this from Obama (18+ / 0-)

    Check this out from back in 2009:

    As for bloggers being included, I see nothing wrong with it -- blogging may be the next wave of journalism (and may be doing it far better, especially those not beholden to corporate overlords).

    Your point is? (resists temptation to make pointy-head joke)

    "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

    by Cali Scribe on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:09:50 AM PST

    •  I agree. Let's be patient and see what happens... (4+ / 0-)

      Maybe we need to play our cards close to the vest.  Maybe it was a information gathering for Obama, let's not tip our hand.

      "Republicans are the party that says that government doesn't work, then they get elected and prove it."-- PJ O'Rourke

      by nocynicism on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:13:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think (4+ / 0-)

      it gives the appearance of a conflict of interest if the journalist's/blogger's job is to seek and tell the truth.  It smacks of insiderism.  Worst of all, it appears that the opportunity of insiderism is being traded for limiting the plain calling to tell the truth.  

      "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

      by Publius2008 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:20:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not seeing the conflict (8+ / 0-)

        unless you are positing a quid pro quo.

        •  The already extreme reluctance of MSNBC (5+ / 0-)

          and other progresssive-leaning media outlets and blogs (including this one) to be too critical of Obama is all the quid pro quo I need. This might not meet the legal standard of such, but that's not how political analysis works.

          You're not seriously suggesting that the organized political left and left-leaning media hasn't taken it easy on Obama, are you?

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:38:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's not a quid pro quo (5+ / 0-)

            That is a preexisitng condition.

            They are not blind cheerleaders because of this meeting.

            MSNBC sucks at journalism, but it did before this meeting and not because of it.

            •  It is if it continues when there's valid (0+ / 0-)

              reason to believe or fear that it might not. Just because MSNBC was a cheerleader (for the most part) before the election doesn't mean that it'll continue to be one now and in the future. People change, as do media outlets.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:50:22 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  My gawd (6+ / 0-)

                You are really looking for reasons to object.

                Well, have at it.

                Don't forget to object to EVERY journalist, activist and persons, because they ALL have off the record conversations.

                •  One on one is one thing (0+ / 0-)

                  But a group meeting? Reeks of an attempt to influence to me.

                  "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                  by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:00:57 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Really? (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    subtropolis, gramofsam1, Zinman

                    Group meeting is worse because what?

                    That makes NO sense.

                    •  Hmm, let's see (0+ / 0-)

                      A bunch of "us", and one of him, on his turf, in his position. Who's going to have more of an individual say in such a meeting? And did he really need to call this meeting to know what they were thinking, as if that weren't blindingly obvious?

                      I understand the need for such meetings from time to time, especially in times of real crisis, e.g. FDR during the Great Depression or WWII. This isn't one of those times, and certainly not from where he's coming from, which is Let's Make a Deal and Live to Not Fight Another Day. I have no way of proving it, but I have a hard time believing that the point of this meeting wasn't to shut down criticism from the left, which is his main fear now since no one's taking criticism from his right seriously anymore. Well, no one we should worry about, at least.

                      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                      by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:23:07 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Probably (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        grrr, gramofsam1
                        And did he really need to call this meeting to know what they were thinking,
                        I don't know how you figure it's blindingly obvious what they are thinking. Many of them are not in a position to openly say what they are thinking, except in a setting like that.

                        "...you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem." Mitt Romney

                        by Catte Nappe on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:42:21 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  honest to god kovie, your view of Obama (0+ / 0-)

                        is as skewed as Red State's.  "He's going to kill Medicare" = "He's coming for our guns".  He's had 4 years to move on both non-issues.  Somehow Medicare is stronger and gun sales flourish.  

                        Or maybe he strengthened Medicare so it would die a more painful death?  Yeah, that's it!

                        Glenn Greenwald isn't a lefty, BTW.  He's a coward who moved to a safer place instead of putting his ass on the line and joining the battle.  If he's your source for inside info you're screwed.

                        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                        by I love OCD on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:44:30 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No, on this issue it's Krugman, Ezra (0+ / 0-)

                          and some guy at WaPo whose name I forgot. You want to call Krugman a coward and a paranoid nutjob, be my guest. It's your petard, not mine.

                          And here's the deal. I'd rather risk looking like a paranoid and cowardly nutjob that trust Obama or anyone blindly, because even if he has the country's best interests in mind and even if he's being as smart and tough as he thinks he needs to be, it doesn't mean that he does have the country's best interests in mind and is being as smart and tough as he needs to be. Even HE said "Make me do it".

                          Well, consider me one of the people trying to do that. And if your response to that is that I'm just a pathetic nobody that nobody listens to, then we have different notions of what a participatory democracy is about.

                          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                          by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 04:29:03 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  WHAT?? Markos does NOT speak ... (0+ / 0-)

                  exclusively for the community at DK, nor does anyone else without consensus.  At a minimum, he should have launched a poll or something and had a voter-nominated member accompany him.

                  "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

                  by Neuroptimalian on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:15:34 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  what constitutes the organized political left and (7+ / 0-)

            left-leaning media, and what does "taken it easy" mean to you?

            because leftys "taking it easy" on the prez hasn't been my experience.  quite the opposite.  maybe we're talking about different things.

            This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

            by mallyroyal on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:43:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  MSNBC cheerleading is a given though (0+ / 0-)

              Right? I mean, that's pretty obvious.

              Obama can't given them anything to incentivize that though. That is a business strategy.

            •  I'm not part of the organized left (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mallyroyal

              but I and others have been critical of Obama from before he took office (as you well know), when and where we felt it was called for. But I'm talking about MSNBC, easily the most left-meaning major media outlet these days (sorry, The Nation and Mother Jones are not major), and this site, easily the most prominent left-leaning blog (again, apologies to Digby and Greenwald). And both have mostly given Obama (but not always Dems) the benefit of the doubt.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:55:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I will grant your point as regards the FP of dkos. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kovie, OIL GUY, mahakali overdrive

                This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

                by mallyroyal on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:59:58 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, it has been critical of him (2+ / 1-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mallyroyal, mahakali overdrive
                  Hidden by:
                  kos

                  Just not lately. I got how we needed to back off to avoid the Romneycalypse, but now that we're back to reality I'd like to see more critical distance. Even if you strongly disagree with the specifics, surely you can agree that speaking one's mind is essential to democracy no matter who's in office.

                  "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                  by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:11:38 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I do agree. But you seem to have things divided (3+ / 0-)

                    into "pro-Obama" vs "critical of Obama".  This frame seems a bit personal.  Sortof like characterizing people as "good" or "bad".

                    Top politicians just aren't crusaders the way we might wish them to be.  Or they wouldn't be top politicians.  They have to make decisions that would scare the pants off most of us, they have to compromise and disappoint people, they have to win, etc.

                    Imo we need action on sane policies, not so much cartoon heroes.  We should I think be pushing the ideas -- in the streets, etc -- not the goodness/badness of the players.

                    Except for the evil Republicans, of course.

                    •  I don't want to get too caught up in sematics (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      hooper, Agathena, Ginger1

                      But there are clearly Dems who aren't very critical of Obama, and those who are (when called for, as opposed to gratuitously). I think it's self-evident that in a functioning democracy you have to be critical of leaders when they do things you disapprove of, even if they're in your party. That's what I'm doing. People have every right to object to one's specific criticism, but not to the right to criticize.

                      And I don't think that Obama's a bad person, just someone with different views, priorities and tendencies from some of us on the left. Which we have every right and really obligation to air publically. We're just one more check and balance in a system meant to have multiple checks and balances to work properly.

                      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                      by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 05:00:14 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I agree, kovie. I just wish we could focus more (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        kovie

                        on getting what we want, rather than who's betraying whom this week. (Not that you're doing that.)

                        Just about all the big progressive victories came about because of people mobilizing, and that's what we should do, imo.  Instead we seem to like to elect someone then watch to see if they perform as we'd like, clapping or booing, as if they were gladiators and we're just the audience.  Like TV.

                        So while I'll criticize Obama like most of us if he doesn't get a good deal on taxes & Medicare, for example, I really think it's up to us.  Why aren't we mobilizing millions of people to push back the 1%?  Why do we accept that SS must be "saved" if we're lucky, rather than expanded so folks can actually live on it?  Why do we let the austerity freaks get away with it?  Why aren't people more active?

                        I don't know the answer, but I bet it's got something to do with the tube, as Orwell predicted.  

                        Best to you.

                  •  Wow, kos, of all my comments (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Agathena

                    THIS gets HRed by you? THIS comment is so beyond the pale, it must be hidden? Seriously? Even if you disagree, THIS is HRable? Wow, simply wow.

                    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                    by kovie on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 06:20:36 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Obama is obviously working the refs. (0+ / 0-)

            MSNBC's shows have been critical of Obama at times (with the possible exception of Lawrence O'Donnell).  If by saying MSNBC has shown "extreme reluctance" to be "too critical of Obama" you mean they have not gone all Fox/Rush on him that may be, but I would not characterize it as taking it easy on Obama. MSNBC has called out many of Obama's failings in drones, torture, mortgage fraud, HAMP, Wall Street crimes, the Health Care bill, and much else. But I can't help note that when Obama is criticized over his lack of progressiveness, then that criticism seems invisible to conservatives and the MSM and to critics of MSNBC.  

            MSNBC has been the least respected network among the VSP and villagers since its inception, and this attitude has grown to outright contempt as MSNBC's  progressive agenda of presenting actual facts and calling out lies began getting traction. MSNBC folks earned the opportunity to be invited to sit at the biggest grown-up table in the world, and I trust they won't let it go to their head or diminish their brand.

            Marcos, on the other hand, had no qualms telling Obama critics to STFU in this last election, so if he was being lobbied then Obama was preaching to the converted.  The MSNBC crowd, not so much.

          •  Yes. Except for the last 6 months (and kudos to (0+ / 0-)

            them/us for getting their/our priorities straight) the left has been very critical of Obama.

      •  Considering that Markos himself (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kovie, The Marti, OIL GUY

        does very little of the writing these days, I think there's little to worry about. And I don't see any signs of him handing out ultimatums from On High regarding editorial content. YMMV, of course.

        Would love to stay and chat, but I've got to grab breakfast then head out for a Lord of the Rings marathon...TTFN.

        "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

        by Cali Scribe on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:26:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "your point is" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      loveistheanswer, Bob Love

      exactly what the diarist asked - "what say you?"

      Wants to know what it was about etc.. It's not national security related (given the attendees), and this is a republic.

      Bloggers or not bloggers - we don't care - not sure where anyone here raises issues with bloggers being included.

      They met. We have a right to ask. Period

  •  By law, some meetings are "open" (13+ / 0-)

    and others are not. If this were an "open" meeting, no doubt the Post would have pointed out.

    Personally, I'm glad the president is listening to these smart folks I admire.

    Tipped and rec'cd for that reason. Thanks for the info, Publius!

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:11:08 AM PST

  •  If there were such an "off the record" meeting (19+ / 0-)

    perhaps a condition of said "off the record" meeting was that it be, you know, "off the record".  

    Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

    by kismet on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:13:18 AM PST

    •  No reason for a journalist (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chrississippi

      to have an off the record meeting, unless it is part of investigation that is going to lead to something on the record.

      "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

      by Publius2008 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:21:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How about an activist? (6+ / 0-)

        I an think of reasons why a journalist would have an off the record meeting.

        I am pretty sure you can too.

        •  From the article (9+ / 0-)

          "David Leonhardt, the Washington Bureau chief for the New York Times, notes, “I am not aware of the Times having any on-the-record interview with President Obama since 2010.” There’s no policy at the Times prohibiting discussions with the president that aren’t on the record. Deep background sessions, says Leonhardt, produce dividends that show up in the copy. “I think it leads to richer conversations and richer coverage,” says Leonhardt. “I have a hard time seeing the argument that coverage would be better if a reporter refused to engage in those conversations and the same goes for the president.” Same dynamic holds for other key officials, says Leonhardt."

      •  This is like the view some people make... (6+ / 0-)

        ...that journalists should never use anonymous sources. They certainly shouldn't make a habit of it. Indeed, it should be rare and the "rules" governing such use should be strict. But never? Many major stories would never see the light of day if that dictum were followed. I've written a couple that were locally major myself.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:48:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So fess up :) Did this meeting meet that standard (0+ / 0-)
          They certainly shouldn't make a habit of it. Indeed, it should be rare and the "rules" governing such use should be strict. But never? Many major stories would never see the light of day if that dictum were followed. I've written a couple that were locally major myself.

          Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

          by divineorder on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:11:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  So, fess up :) Did this meeting meet that standard (0+ / 0-)
          They certainly shouldn't make a habit of it. Indeed, it should be rare and the "rules" governing such use should be strict. But never? Many major stories would never see the light of day if that dictum were followed.  
           

          Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

          by divineorder on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:13:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  it's not enough that he meets with, and listens to (16+ / 0-)

    progressives... he, and they must share every word of that meeting with... everybody?

    lol ok.

    would you have preferred that the pople invited to an OFF THE RECORD meeting simply decline and not be heard by the president?

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:20:14 AM PST

  •  I don't get it (7+ / 0-)

    I don't think Kos has ever claimed to be a journalist. In fact, he makes fun of them.

  •  Which way did information flow? (7+ / 0-)

    My impression is that Obama has been meeting with lots of different groups and categories, but a lot of it is as much or more to get their viewpoints than to give them his. There is something to be said for opportunities for either side to speak freely and frankly about general principles. Had Obama told them explicitly some intention about specific policies, I'd be ready to criticize, but there's no evidence that was the case.

    "...you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem." Mitt Romney

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:21:39 AM PST

  •  What's your objection? (10+ / 0-)

    That Obama met with the or that they agreed to an off the record meeting?

    Do you object to anything being off the record?

    If so, on what basis?

    Do you believe the off the record meeting is intended to slant coverage? And if so, do you think MSNBC could be less slanted?

    As for Daily Kos, speaking for me only, whatever may have taken place, O received no instruction on what to write. So no effect on me at least.

    •  Not what journalists do, for the reasons explained (0+ / 0-)

      above.  Or was this just policy makers speaking to policy makers?  What is the blogger's role?  The journalist's?

      "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

      by Publius2008 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:28:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (6+ / 0-)

        We disagree on that. Journalists have off the record meetings all the time. As a general principle, your objection is off.

        On this particular case, I imagine the President wants to have this meeting with activist/advocacy journalists to give them some information on his thnking and goals.

        Markos is not a neutral journalist. he is an advocacy/activist journalist. There wpuld be a perfectly legitimate rationale for this meeting from his perspective.

        •  From the linked article (3+ / 0-)

          "David Leonhardt, the Washington Bureau chief for the New York Times, notes, “I am not aware of the Times having any on-the-record interview with President Obama since 2010.” There’s no policy at the Times prohibiting discussions with the president that aren’t on the record. Deep background sessions, says Leonhardt, produce dividends that show up in the copy. “I think it leads to richer conversations and richer coverage,” says Leonhardt. “I have a hard time seeing the argument that coverage would be better if a reporter refused to engage in those conversations and the same goes for the president.” Same dynamic holds for other key officials, says Leonhardt."

    •  What could he possibly have told these people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ZhenRen

      that wasn't newsworthy, yet that he didn't want publicized?

      And yes, I do:

      Do you believe the off the record meeting is intended to slant coverage?

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:45:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think that a lot of us (0+ / 0-)

      are rather fed up with elite politicians (a bunch of millionaires) talking to an elite press (a bunch of millionaires) or elite bloggers (well, not rich but maybe getting there) having a lot of off the record conversations behind the back of the public.

      If it weren't for the times we are in, this might be different, but given what's at stake, it stinks to the high heavens.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:43:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Knew about Schultz and the meeting... (8+ / 0-)

    didn't know about Kos or any of the rest.  When you accept "off the record" , that's what it means.    

    If money is speech, then speech must be money.

    by dkmich on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:34:56 AM PST

  •  If it saved time that would normally be wasted (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, joe shikspack

    floating more trial balloons and then waiting for reaction, then I'm all for it.

  •  If the condition for having this meeting (12+ / 0-)

    with the President entail that details not be discussed, would your preference be that Markos decline the invitation?

  •  Please (21+ / 0-)

    Journalists have off the record sessions literally all the time, with sources, government officials and with all manner of people. There is nothing suspicious or underhanded about that at all. The purpose is to gain information to inform avenues of inquiry, among other things. Off-the-record is an essential tool of journalism. It's a non-issue.

    And secondly, liberal activists evidently had a meeting with Obama in which they could speak frankly about issues at hand -- very important issues.

     I would hope they had a frank discussion about, for example, raising the Medicare age, and I hope they gave the president an earful off the record. I hope he floated some ideas to get their feedback. And I hope they gave him VERY frank and forceful feedback.

    Yes, we are, finally, finally, getting a seat at the table. That's a good thing.  To do that, you have to play by the rules. Or you don't get invited back.

    What's not to like?

  •  It's progress that such people are given seats (6+ / 0-)

    ...to meet to hear, listen, and speak with the President and his staff. I don't understand the possible conflicts of interest unless suddenly the choir of uncritical supporters becomes amplified with propaganda and that would certainly be obvious to the casual observer. Would you rather people stay "outside" for fear of testing their professionalism and virtue?

    The President position seems loaded:

    “This afternoon at the White House, the President met with influential progressives to talk about
    the importance of preventing a tax increase on middle class families, strengthening our economy and adopting a balanced approach to deficit reduction
    .”
    ...is filled with vague words that can either open doors to a decent outcome or flush the future of Democrats down the Third Way/DLC toilet of waste and flatulence. Anyone who's cocksure of which way the President will go "in quite rooms" exposes some internal degree of paranoia.

    IMO, progressives, journalists, or bloggers have no obligations to publicize meetings. How on earth could writers of substance get context without such background. Even hack reporters are not so constrained.  

    Let all Bush tax cuts expire and , bring on the Sequestration cuts to defense.

    by kck on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:45:34 AM PST

  •  Off the record means (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zemblan, Wordsinthewind, WakeUpNeo

    Just that. And whining about it won't change this long standing rule nor should it.

    The 47% also "pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more" but when Romney does it he thinks it's a virtue, while when they do it, he thinks they are deadbeats.

    by jsfox on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:53:34 AM PST

  •  How does it feel to be one of the Beautiful People (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, Cassiodorus

    Notice: This Comment © 2012 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:55:25 AM PST

  •  i don't remember seeing him there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wordsinthewind

    but there were so many kossacks there that it was hard to keep track.

  •  Any kind of effective diplomacy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, TomP, CwV, WakeUpNeo

    requires both a public and a private side.

    It's no secret that Obama's approach to the austerity bomb negotiations includes an outside-the-Beltway campaign of public appearances, media opportunities, and internet appearances. A little off-the-record outreach to liberals in the media on the topic -- presuming that was the topic -- doesn't strike me as a bad thing at all.

  •  I welcome this meeting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP

    I believe this meeting was a great thing and I don't see a conflict of interest, since we don't even know what was covered. However, here are the things I hope were  talked about:

    + Messaging: I know it is not always the role of the President to decide what needs to be discussed. But I think there is a need in this country to cover issues from different perspectives. For example, the healthcare law. Every single news outlet sees it from a "Company/Business side". People seem to only worry about how big Pharma will be screwed or doctors might quit their jobs and so on. Very little reporting is done about the real people  who are affected by this law. The press does have a major role to play here. And It is not about going to bat for the President. It is about talking about the people who might be affected by the laws. Families, parents, children, ... etc.

    This is just my speculation. Lots of people seems to create this false equivalency between msnbc and fox. We all know it is not true. But I would like for msnbc to move more towards covering real people, instead of covering corporations.

  •  Yglesias was just pissed he wasn't invited. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mahakali overdrive, WakeUpNeo

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:51:47 AM PST

  •  I need to check out of this discussion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZhenRen

    It was interesting, as always, but it's still mostly about process, not policy, and I've got stuff to do. I do wish to thank everyone who's engaged me for being (for the most part) civil and polite, in the sort of discussion that in the past could easily not have been. Of course, it helps when you know I'm right and you're not.

    ;-)

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:57:52 AM PST

  •  Excellent that they had a chance to meet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    themank, WakeUpNeo

    I'm glad this happened, personally.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:18:44 AM PST

  •  Off the record is normal, it's called (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv, FG, WakeUpNeo, cat

    "on background" and journalists hold certain things, like sources, confidential all the time.
    But a large group of Left-ish mediafolk getting unfiltered face time with POTUS is AWESOME! It would be amazing if he sat down with hardcore Lefties, maybe he has but that was kept REALLY off the record.
    If it's any consolation, I'm sure that he has held sit-downs with MSM and ConMedia types as well as Business Leaders, Church groups and Republicans so meeting with friends and allies, rather than antagonists, must be a pleasure.
    I hope it was a truly two way discussion, Obama hearing feedback, the voice of his people, through the mediafolk and the mfs hearing what Obama's current trajectory and it's obstacles are.
    As noted often above, I doubt that this meeting changed the editorial content of the various media orgs that attended. I doubt Markos would be any more supportive of Obama because he got a footrub in the WhiteHouse. Or that Arianna would rein in the Conservatives on her staff from expressing their views because she "got access" (she can probably get unlimited time with Michelle just for asking).
    What this signals to me is that this administration takes new media seriously(as he should) that Bloggers (at least the good ones) are worthy of as much respect as MS/NBC THs and that Obama is reaching out to communicate better in this term than he did in the first term.
    Look objectively at his first two years, all that was accomplished (and it was a lot) and look at the media coverage of it.
    The LeftMedia started pounding on him before he was even elected, not to mention inaugurated. By the end of his second year, the "story" on Obama was that he'd failed utterly to achieve ANY of his campaign promises, that he'd sold the Left out, et cetera. Much of that came from not communicating with the Media well. He focused on getting his work done and figured that the Media do their job and would cover these achievements, that he didn't have to blow his own horn. That left a lot of room for pundits from Right, Left and Center to tear him up.
    The result of that was 2010.
    He's done a lot better at communication while he's had almost no success at policy since then.
    A meeting like this is part of the outreach he needs to do to prevent 2014 from being a repeat of 2010.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:43:04 AM PST

  •  Tempest, Meet Teapot. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm a former journalist, more than a decade, and this debate is ridiculous. Reporters have Off the Record conversations with sources and The Establishment all the time. It would've been nice for Markos to let us know and tell us so we didn't have to learn it elsewhere, but that was up to him. We should probably keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't become assimilated into The Establishment, but so far I feel like we're in a good place. This is a win for the site and for progressive journalism, I'm pretty sure.

    "The Weight is a Gift." - Nada Surf

    by AdHack on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:20:23 PM PST

  •  "Sorry, but I don’t discuss who I do and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wordsinthewind, WakeUpNeo

    don’t meet with. Thanks, markos"

    I think he already answered it. ON the record.

    "Mitt Romney looks like the CEO who fires you, then goes to the Country Club and laughs about it with his friends." ~ Thomas Roberts MSNBC

    by second gen on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 12:58:31 PM PST

  •  Rec'd and tipped only for raising the question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo

    .... would suggest everyone reserve judgement and refrain from speculating unless and until Markos actually talks about this.

  •  Now I want me some marching orders. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack

    Marching orders for all!

    "On the sidewalk the people are hustling and bustling/ They ain't got no time so they think on the thing/ That will fill in the space in between birth and death" -- Donovan Leitch

    by Cassiodorus on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:13:53 PM PST

  •  So-called journalists (0+ / 0-)

    who have the privilege to speak with Power, but don't want to share it with the rest of us?

    This makes them part of the establishment. Anyone at that meeting who would accept conditions of being silent are corrupted by the lust for access and influence.

    This is called selling out in my book. What, the common little people (that would be most of us) don't get such privilege and access, but the big name bloggers do?

    Fuck this shit. We need to hire some new gate crashers.

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:37:20 PM PST

  •  dkos is an advocacy site not a journalism site... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    just look at what kossacks frequently say about the site, it is a partisan democratic site.

    as such, the only real question about the meeting (and not one that we are likely to get an answer to) is whether the meeting was to distribute marching orders or to solicit opinions and information.  perhaps there was some of both.

    in my experience, though, meetings are called by higher level administrators to distribute work to lower level administrators.

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:20:41 AM PST

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