The White House press corps, our proud enforcers of public accountability, regularly demand more transparency from the White House. But if you ask them whether they attended an off-the-record lunch with President Obama, it's Top Secret. Got it?
The word spread earlier this week, about some major White House beat reporters attending an off-the-record chow-down with Obama, after each attendee disclosed this fact to his or her outlet's readers, promptly. Ha, just kidding: the New York Times' Peter Baker turned down the invite and then spilled the beans. Yahoo's news blog, The Upshot, followed up by trying to confirm the attendees — many of whose news organizations, coincidentally, had joined a suit in recent years demanding the release of White House visitors logs.
It's unclear, of course, whether reporters for any of those newspapers attended the lunch - because none of them will say. But it's highly likely that some, if not all, of the people who are now refusing to divulge whether or not they visited the White House for the Obama lunch work for newspapers that asked a federal court to compel the Secret Service to divulge a list of all White House visitors. It's understandable that reporters will not discuss what transpired in the off-the-record meeting, but several won't even confirm if they attended.
The Upshot reached out to several White House reporters whose news organizations joined the amicus brief , including the Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman, Reuters' Caren Bohan, the Washington Post's Michael Shear and USA Today's David Jackson (who also serves as president of the White House Correspondents Association). When reached, they all declined to comment.
Here's the line-up: Ben Feller (Associated Press), Jonathan Weisman and Laura Meckler (Wall Street Journal), Michael Shear and Scott Wilson (Washington Post), Caren Bohan (Reuters), David Jackson (USA Today), Carol Lee (Politico), Peter Nicholas (Tribune Co.), Margaret Talev (McClatchy), and Julianna Goldman (Bloomberg).
Stone them all.
[Image via AP]