Getting front-row White House seat no victory for Bloomberg
Jeff Bercovici of DailyFinance.com writes that if Bloomberg News gets the coveted front-row seat at White House press conferences, it won’t help its coverage.
Bercovici writes, “Bloomberg, meanwhile, has remade itself from a narrow provider of financial information into something much more far-reaching, but its public image is still closer to the former. Snagging Thomas’s seat would draw attention to its non-business reporting. (Recall that when Bloomberg bought BusinessWeek, the company stressed how owning the magazine would enhance its cachet on Capitol Hill.)
“What neither entity wants the seat for is its value in breaking news and getting scoops. That’s because it has none. White House briefings are the epitome of journalism-as-stenography. Just take a look at the seating chart: Aside from Thomas’s now-vacant chair, the front row is reserved for TV networks and wire services. The New York Times, the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal are all in the second row, even though it’s their enterprise reporting that typically drives the networks’ coverage, not the other way around. Whatever tough questioning does take place there is typically for display purposes only (and, yes, Jake Tapper, I’m talking about you).
“Fox and Bloomberg want Thomas’s seat so badly because of the symbolism they see in it, but the real symbolism here isn’t what they think it is. The whole phenomenon of the briefing room is a metaphor for the clubbiness and toothlessness that all too often characterize the Washington press corps.”
Read more here.