Some tout the new media revolution as an exercise in increased transparency, civil participation and accountability for public officials. But recent investigations may indicate that the Obama administration is using these tools to bypass the Washington Press Corps, instead acting as a de facto news agency.
Social media is innovating branding, marketing, and user engagement. But some argue The White House is using these tools to restrict press access and control Obama’s image far more than any previous administration ever has.
Martha Kumar, Professor of PoliSci at University of Maryland Towson who specialized in presidential communication, has compiled statistics for how Obama’s media strategy differs from his predecessors.
In first first term, Obama had 107 short Q&As with reporters, versus the 354 George W. Bush had in his first four years. And in the first term Obama did 674 TV, radio, Internet, print interviews, compared with 217 for Bush and 191 for Clinton.
Some worry that Obama has too much control over his own public image.
Yet, the White House rejects this notion,
"From press conferences to interviews with national, regional and constituency press, to new social media platforms, we have worked to both expand the scope of communication and also deepen the level of engagement between the American people and the work of the White House," says Jamie Smith, deputy press secretary.