May 122009

There has hardly been any comment on the recent scandal involving the White House press corps.

We can all assume that what Tom Lauria said is true. The Obama administration threatened Perella Weinberg, saying it would use “the full force of the White House press corps [to] destroy it’s reputation” if it resisted the government’s plan to abrogate their status as preferred creditors.

Robert Gibbs denied that the White House put that kind of pressure on Perella Weinberg, but nobody believes that. Obama’s defenders in the blogosphere are instead defending the right of Obama to bash corporations.

Some professional journalists are peddling the line that Perella Weinberg itself denied it. But there is no evidence of such a denial. Yes, there is a Reuters article with the headline, “Perella denies White House threat over Chrysler.” But if you read the article, you find out that what Perella Weinberg did was contradict the idea that it succumbed to White House pressure. At that point it says it realized its interests were better served by going along with the White House plan. That of course is not a denial that the threat was made exactly as Lauria described it.

Others are doing a good job of describing the many offenses against our legal system in what the Obama administration is doing here. I presume some of them will someday be featured in a bill of impeachment.

But the most chilling aspect of this has not been discussed. That is that the White House threatened to use the press corps as its agent of destruction.

And there hasn’t been a word of outcry from the nation’s press. Shouldn’t it be howling against Lauria, demanding that he retract his slander. Shouldn’t they try to protect their reputation, however tarnished?

About the best the news media have done, in some cases, is to omit the part of the accusation that involves them. For example, Neil King Jr. and Jeffrey McCracken of the Wall Street Journal simply say that Tom Lauria “accused the White House of threatening to destroy the reputation of Perella Weinberg.” They don’t mention the press’s alleged role in this.

Yes, it’s a vindication for those of us who have accused the nation’s press of losing its objectivity and being in the tank for Obama. But our country would be in a healthier state if the press still thought it desirable to deny it.