March 2nd, 2010
01:50 PM ET
12 years ago

The library v. the classroom showdown

Savannah, Georgia (CNN) - President Barack Obama headed to Savannah Technical College in Georgia on Tuesday to highlight the jobs training program that is part of his stimulus and jobs plan. But it was the White House's attempt to control the media that raised eyebrows.

The White House focused on every detail to get their jobs message across, including where the White House press corps could set up its cameras. Due to logistical issues, the press corps considered using a nearby library but a White House staffer dismissed the idea, forcing the press to make a much more difficult trek to an area that showcased a classroom, where the jobs training occurred. The staffer suggested that the classroom was a better "backdrop" for the press corp and the message.

While the White House aides normally picks a venue for a presidential event, it is unusual for them to attempt to dictate positions for reporter "live shot" cameras - particularly for backdrop purposes.

The message mattered-so much so that the White House actually made it harder for TV reporters to do their jobs.

The White House did not have a comment when pressed further about this issue.

Update 5:22 p.m.: White House spokesman Ben Labolt responded to this blog post, saying the White House would have been "happy to work" with the press corps. LaBolt also explained that using the library would have forced the college to close down the area for the entire day, a different explanation than the one given earlier by another White House staffer.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Biased

    Horrors of horrors – the media have once again been led around by the WH to whatever stage look is best for them but I am sure the media followed like puppy dogs anyway just as usual. If you are going to cave then don't complain about it afterwards.

    March 2, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Caesar the Great

    Just more proof that the media of today is nothing more than a farce and doing the work of the White House. Do they tell you what to eat to?

    March 2, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Enough

    Well the real Obama is starting to rear his ugly head.........he was so used to being the media made darling and now that is all changing and he is having to pick and choose those that still foolishly support him and his socialist agenda. Getting to be mighty slim pickens for him.

    March 2, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Jon In Madison

    Welcome to life under a dictatorship. Elections have consequences. Just remember, we can still remove him in 2012, or earlier.

    March 2, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Scott in Atlanta

    CNN, stop trying to make news... and just report it!!!

    March 2, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Stallion

    C'mon.......this whole Obama administration is into control....including what we should think, feel and They are good at controlling what they want to project and what they think they want us to perceive. What ever happened to the great press conferences that presidents use to do....I loved those. This guy Obama is just not "real" enough to enjoy that format. He must not want us to see the real "him".......but I think I can accurately say that he loves his "detached" smarter than thou position.

    March 2, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Kevin in Ohio

    This does not surprise me at all. Obama is all about Total Control.... and that is where he wants to take us. I'm surprised that the media is so surprised at his actions.......

    March 2, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Laverne

    The media insist on always trying to make people suspicious of something. They make me sick!

    March 2, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Dean

    We really don't care about the program or spending money. We just want Obama to look good on tv.

    March 2, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Hammerer

    So, what's new?
    The media is Obama's lap dog!

    March 2, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. snood

    transparency at its best, More like Bush everyday

    March 2, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. Andy

    Another photo shoot,just GREAT,now that makes me feel alot better knowing this is another hollywood production.When will this president wake up to reality,we do not want more speeches/photo shoots,we want action and results.Guess this trip cost 200,000. or more.

    March 2, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. big babies?

    Wow so upset that you had to make an article about it? What babies, do your jobs c'mon, how great it would be if I could complain about my job like that and godforbid they position you somewhere else, you have to make it seem like they are taking control of the media, are you kidding me...

    Come down from that pedastool won't you and join reality?

    March 2, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. get real

    Seriously, they're complaining because they had to set up in a classroom and not the library. What a bunch of whiners! Hey, in the old administration, you weren't allowed in at all. Get over it and do your job.....

    March 2, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. Mitchell from MS

    Here Mr. Teleprompter goes again...You are just now realizing this man trys to control the news?

    What do you think he did to you at CNN a few months back when he told you not to follow the example of Fox news?

    I will give you some free advice...follow fox news. There number of viewers every evening far outnumbers yours. Isn't rating what the game is all about.

    If CNN is not careful it will end up just like ABC. Billionaire Ted's money can't save you that long.

    March 2, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Steph

    Oh poor press corps! They had to "trek" to the classroom where the real training occurs.

    If this is all they have to complain about, then I say the administration is doing a fine job.

    March 2, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. chill

    Geez, get over yourselves.

    March 2, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Bob in Pa

    With this administration it's always been about the image, they could care less about the substance.

    March 2, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |

    Boo hoo! So the media had to work a little harder to get a story and i'm supposed to feel sorry for them. Get off your hgh horse press.

    March 2, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. Concerned

    The media is responsible for getting him hired and now they complain?

    March 2, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Joshua Davis

    I wish I could whine about my job every time an usually ordinary task required a deviation.

    March 2, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Duck Fallas


    March 2, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Peter E

    So? Politicians use forced backdrops all the time. In 2004 Bush Jr. forced an entire class of children to stay in school in August, LATE night so that he could deliver a speech near the beginning of the RNC. And of course, more famously, he forced thousands of our troops to stay on the USS Lincoln for two extra days out at sea, instead of letting them return to their loved ones so that he can use them as a background for his misguided 'Mission Accomplished' speech.

    March 2, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. El Gordo

    "A much more difficult trek'

    What does that mean. They have to walk across campus? Obama wants to talk about education in a classroom. The press is the tail, not the dog. Who's wagging who?

    March 2, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    First of all there are children involved here and they don't need a media circus, well done Mr. President.

    March 2, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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