BuzzFeed’s Hastings: White House reporters ‘swoon,’ ‘lose their mind’ in Obama’s presence

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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In his recently released book, “Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Obama’s Final Campaign,” BuzzFeed’s Michael Hastings reveals a bizarre encounter between a reporter with a sock puppet and President Barack Obama at an off-the-record cocktail party.

On Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Martin Bashir,” Hastings elaborated on the tale, relaying it as an example of how the media sometimes act in the president’s presence.

“Yeah, a hand puppet, a sock puppet, whatever you want to call it — it was a puppet that looked like Obama,” Hastings said. “This individual reporter worked for The Wall Street Journal, put the puppet on her hand and started asking the president for an interview and going like this back-and-forth … It was very strange and I learned later Obama said that it was ‘one of the weirdest moments I’ve experienced with the media.’”

The reporter, as Fishbowl DC later revealed last week is the Journal’s Laura Meckler. But Hastings presented that as example of how Obama can bring out “juvenile and amateurish” behavior.

“That’s the presence of Obama, even on the press corps, even on the people who follow him every day,” Hastings said. “When they are near him, they lose their mind sometimes. They start behaving in ways, you know, that are juvenile and amateurish and they swoon.”

Hastings admitted he was guilty of the swooning as well and said that when he had a chance to question the president, he neglected to go to his well of questions concerning drones and civil liberties, but instead took a softer approach. Hastings also made news last week when he revealed on Current TV he was physically assaulted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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