I’ve got to admit that I’m pretty amused by what is going with the White House, and their outspoken critics in the media. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it happen before, and my gut reaction is that it seems to be beneath the office of the President.
It appears that the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has decided that the best way to deal with critics in the entertainment news industry is to launch ad hominem attacks. From a PR standpoint, I’m not really sure this is an altogether smart strategic tactic. There’s an old adage advising against picking fights with those who buy “ink by the barrel.” Yet, that is precisely what is going on over the last few weeks.
First, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs lashed out in a very personal attack against Rick Santelli by insinuating Mr. Santelli never looked at the housing plan bill he was criticizing:
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs jumped at the chance Friday to rebuke a CNBC reporter whose attack on President Barack Obama’s anti-foreclosure plan caught fire on the Internet.
Gibbs took on CNBC’s Rick Santelli in unusually personal terms after being asked a question about Santelli’s bracing critique during a regular White House briefing.
I’ve watched Mr. Santelli on cable the past 24 hours or so. I’m not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives but the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgages, stay in their jobs, pay their bills, send their kids to school,” Gibbs said.
This was followed by a personal attack against Rush Limbaugh:
CBS News: Gibbs, pictured below, said Limbaugh “doubled down on what he said in January in wishing and hoping for economic failure in this country” during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend.
The speech, Gibbs told reporters, appeared to be “quite popular at the room in which he spoke.”
Then, Press Secretary Gibbs goes after Jim Cramer:
Limbaugh’s dead right. I am a fight-not-flight guy, so I was on my hackles when I heard White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ answer to a question about my pointed criticism of the president on multiple venues, including the Today Show.
“I’m not entirely sure what he’s pointing to to make some of the statements,” Gibbs said about my point that President Obama’s budget may be one of the great wealth destroyers of all time. “And you can go back and look at any number of statements he’s made in the past about the economy and wonder where some of the backup for those are, too.”
This is all a bit ridiculous. What makes this even sillier is the fact that the people he is attacking are entertainers. Sure, they’re programs are on news stations, but let’s be real. They are in the entertainment industry. The news of the day, especially that which is viewed on these channels, is covered in about 20 minutes. The rest of the time is well meant to kept you entertained long enough to hear the commercials. Period, that’s it.
The White House Press Secretary is going after these folks is just absurd. It would be right up their with attacking Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Just doesn’t make any sense.