Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 2, 2010

MUSICAL CHAIRS IN THE WH BRIEFING ROOM.... It is, by definition, a story for Washington insiders about Washington insiders, but interest in which news organization would get Helen Thomas' seat in the White House briefing room became something of a parlor game.

Thomas' abrupt resignation in June meant the front-row-center seat was up for grabs, with three outlets vying for the coveted spot: Fox News, Bloomberg, and NPR. As the White House Correspondents Association neared a decision, there was actually some grassroots organizing on the subject, with CREDO Action and MoveOn.org campaigning to oppose Fox News' bid.

The result is a game of musical chairs.

Fox News moves up, The Associated Press moves over and National Public Radio comes in second.

Mark your seating charts. The new assignments for the White House briefing room are in.

The A.P. correspondent will get the highly coveted front-row center seat previously occupied by Helen Thomas, the White House Correspondents Association announced Sunday.

The reporter for Fox will take The A.P.'s former front-row seat, moving up from the second row, and National Public Radio, now in the third-row, will replace Fox.

Here's a chart of the seating arrangements as they existed before yesterday's announcement. Fox News will go from a second-row-center seat to front-row-left; AP will go from front-row-left to front-row-center; and NPR will go from third-row-right to second-row-center.

The Washington Times will move from the third to the fourth row, while Politico and American Urban Radio Networks will move up to the third row. The Financial Times will, for the first time, get a regular seat in the briefing room, while U.S. News & World Report, which was sharing a fifth-row seat, has lost its position altogether.

To be sure, this isn't exactly important news, and squabbling over seating assignments seems pretty silly for adults. But if there's a disappointment here, it's that Fox News is being treated as a legitimate, professional journalistic enterprise, and it shouldn't be. It will join a front-row with credible media powerhouses -- ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Reuters, and AP -- producing a rather powerful "one of these things is not like the other" moment.

Fox News is a propaganda outlet, a detail everyone seems to know, but which is apparently impolite to say out loud. The network's proponents will likely argue a front-row seat is warranted because Fox News has a lot of viewers. Perhaps. But Milli Vanilli sold a lot of records, and success didn't make them legitimate recording artists.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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Comments

Did Democrats actually win the last election?

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 2, 2010 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

really?

****WHO THE FNCK CARES!!?!!??***

jeebus!

Posted by: efgoldman on August 2, 2010 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Putting Faux News in the front row is probably a good idea. When they were in the second row, they undoubtedly spent their time pulling Helen Thomas' hair, copying off her during tests, and shooting spitballs at everyone else. You always want the worst troublemakers in the first row, so you can keep a better eye on them. That is, when you aren't making them stand out in the hall.

Posted by: Tim H on August 2, 2010 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

Fox News is a propaganda outlet . In polite society this is kept from the servants and the children .

I want my life back
I want my country back

Personally I would enjoy having the wit and intelligence back , but that is just me .

Posted by: FRP on August 2, 2010 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

PWTMTOTH
people with to much time on their hands

Posted by: John R on August 2, 2010 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

Somehow, I knew they wouldn't give the seat to Shirley Sherrod, though she may have offered more interesting questions.

Posted by: Danp on August 2, 2010 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Wake me when the White House press office recognizes blogs and gives them a seat in the coveted room.

Of course, the Village won't fathom underwear-wearing basement dwellers into their midst - they just aren't part of and never can be part of their special club - but they know and we all know that blogs have broken some of the most important news stories in recent years, such as the Attorneys-General scandal (to mention one), and they also know that new media are often as good as if not better and quicker than they are.

Posted by: terraformer on August 2, 2010 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

I believe the Briefing Room is built atop either JFK's swimming pool, or Nixon's bowling alley. Either one would be an improvement.

Posted by: DAY on August 2, 2010 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry for the language:
FUCK THEM!
Let them stand!
I don't really give a shit if a few of these worthless clowns are trammpled to death in a surge to get closer.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on August 2, 2010 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

"To be sure, this isn't exactly important news ..."

Jebus, Steve, this is about status and in a place like Washington, DC, nothing is more important than status. Did you really think the purpose of reporters spending time in the WH briefing room was to listen to Robert Gibbs?

Posted by: eserwe on August 2, 2010 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

@Ron: I don't get what this has to do with Dems or the WH. They don't get to decide.

@DAY: I think (I can't confirm right now) that Talking Points Memo is part of the WH press corp.

Posted by: Alli on August 2, 2010 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

The front-and-center chair should have gone to Jon Stewart. Oh, wait....he isn't even in the room and manages to get the news right! In that case, give the chair to some sock puppet like Kermit the Frog. That should pretty much cover the more serious side of the MSM's news.

Posted by: Chopin on August 2, 2010 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Milli Vanilli? Really, Steve? ;>

Posted by: martin on August 2, 2010 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Not that this could ever actually happen in Washington, but ... why aren't the seats assigned randomly among the agencies permitted to be in the room? Shake it up every week or so?

Posted by: Bernard Gilroy on August 2, 2010 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Sam Stein from the Huffington Post is there too.

Posted by: lkt on August 2, 2010 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Great article,well putting the fox news ups its really great one.Now they prove themselves.All rest places are ok according to me.

Posted by: life coaching articles on August 2, 2010 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

It will join a front-row with credible media powerhouses -- ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Reuters, and AP --
Not sure how your rating system works, but the only one of them I would consider as credible is Reuters. Now the rest of them may be powerhouses as far as name but they sure as hell ain't credible
over the long term.

Posted by: grandpajohn on August 2, 2010 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

"why aren't the seats assigned randomly among the agencies permitted to be in the room? Shake it up every week or so?"

Why not help reduce the deficit by auctioning off the seats each week? Put them on eBay. Let the free market reign.

Starting bid for front row center: $10,000.

Posted by: arkie on August 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

So the one on the right is on the left
and the one in the middle is on the right
and the one on the left is in the middle
and the guy in the rear --
apparently lost the privilege of sitting on somebody else's lap.
Johnny Cash is still the smartest guy in the country, and he's dead.

Posted by: ericfree on August 2, 2010 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

I second Grandpajohn.

The one of these things that's not like the other is Reuters.

ABC's George Steponallofus let FucksNews write his script for a presidential debate.

CNN runs "Department of Jihad" stories.

AP is a bastion of rightwing hackery.

CBS threw Dan Rather under the bus for telling the truth about Shrub going AWOL.

NBC - MC David Gregory. Nuff said.

Posted by: Winknandanod on August 2, 2010 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't the 'Thinking People's Network' (NPR if you had to think about what I wrote) be front and center?

Posted by: Moxo on August 2, 2010 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't the 'Thinking People's Network' (NPR if you had to think about what I wrote) be front and center?

Maybe Fox will make Juan Williams their WHPC guy and you'll get your wish.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on August 2, 2010 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Ok. Great. Why not add someone from Comedy Central? Seriously. I also like the random seating on a weekly basis, or the auction system; with the proceeds going to a fund to support the families of journalists who have died / been abducted while working.

Posted by: bigtuna on August 2, 2010 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Completely agree with that. If you have Fox why not have Comedy Central? Fox isn't news, it's satire.

Posted by: cld on August 2, 2010 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

More proof that the beltway establishment never really left high school.

Posted by: danimal on August 2, 2010 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

How funny is it that the #1 rated new organization is being called irrelevant by you! LOL. I wonder why they are rated #1?? Oh yeah, becausethey actually tell the news, tell the truth and tell the liberals they better watch their step b/c hey will be held accountable. You sound soooooo jeaous, like a school kid!

Posted by: Jennifer Allen on August 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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