Scandal-generating Attorney General Eric Holder is getting rejection notices from some established media companies who don’t want to attend a meeting apparently aimed at assuaging Holder’s “creeping sense of remorse” over his approval of police spying on reporters.
Both the Associated Press and the New York Times have announced they will not attend the event if it is off the record.
CNN announced May 30 it would boycott the meeting, if it is off-the-record.
The unprecedented meeting was scheduled by President Barack Obama in order to address the media’s anger over the discovery that Holder and his deputies had approved unprecedented surveillance of reporters working for AP and Fox News.
Opposition from establishment media outlets is a strategic danger to Obama, who is trying to regain Democratic control of the House in November 2014 and pass a far-reaching immigration rewrite this year. The tacit cooperation of the established media has until now been an essential asset for a president trying to push through an unpopular agenda amid massive federal deficit spending, a lousy economy and very high unemployment.
But the proposed hand-holding session between bureau chiefs and an attorney general facing a congressional perjury probe is getting a lukewarm reception from news organizations.
The Washington Post has been invited to the event, said Kristine Coratti, communications director for the Washington Post. But she declined to say if the top editors will go, or when the meeting will take place.
The media scandal is one of several scandals facing the administration.
The most damaging is the use of the Internal Revenue Service to target disfavored political nonprofits. The targeted groups included tea party groups, pro-life groups, conservative training centers, a group opposing ballot fraud and even pro-Israel groups. Public polls show that most Republicans, many swing voters and even some Democrats are alarmed by the IRS’s targeting policies.
Other media outlets have been excluded from the Holder meeting, even though they have reporters covering the White House and an interest in possible government surveillance of their employees.
Mainstream outlets such as the Daily Caller and the Washington Examiner have not gotten invites, even though the left-of-center Huffington Post is on the guest list.Follow Neil on Twitter