Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Gang of Five in the White House

On Tuesday afternoon, President Obama met in private with five beltway conservative journalists.

From  Hot Air:  "The group, according to a source familiar with the meeting, included Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot, National Review Washington editor Robert Costa, Washington Examiner columnist Byron York, syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker and Washington Post columnist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer".

Why these five journalists?  They are conservative, some milder than others but they all have one thing in common.  Except for Robert Costa [who seemed more middle of the road on the Cruz defunding gambit], the other four strongly opposed Senator Ted Cruz and his strategy to defund Obamacare.  What is the saying in the Middle East,  "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

We know for sure the president didn't call to the White House for a secret meeting those conservatives who either vigorously support Senator Ted Cruz, like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Gallagher, or those who at first were conflicted on the Cruz effort, but then saw the great value of Senator Cruz 21 hour filibuster, like Hugh Hewitt, and Dennis Prager.

Before the meeting, Byron York disclosed on Bill Bennett's Morning in America show on Wednesday morning, that they [the gang of five journalists] had to agree not to disclose anything that went on in the meeting with the president.  In my opinion, this was a mistake by the journalists to agree to this meeting if it would be completely secret and off the record.

I am not suggesting that these five have been compromised or they have now been turned into supporters of Obamacare because they were a select lot who got to meet with the president and maybe if they say the right things they will get to go to the White House again.  I don't believe that for a second.   But here is why I feel it will turn out to be a mistake for these five journalists to meet the president with the condition of never disclosing what was said.  Because from now on whenever they report, in writing or on TV, on an issue concerning president Obama, people will wonder [especially if the report is seen in a more positive light towards Obama] if just maybe their reporting had been influenced by getting to meet with the president.  They have already been critical of Cruz, so the next time if they are critical of Cruz a conservative watching will wonder if they are bringing that issue up to help their new White House buddy, the president.  It probably will have nothing at all to do with that meeting with the president, but who can blame grass roots conservative Republicans for thinking that?

Here is one example that is in my mind that happened just after the meeting that Dr. Charles Krauthammer had with the president [I am almost sure it was after-if not, I hope someone corrects me].  Dr. Charles Krauthammer, who I admire greatly and value his opinion always, was on "The Factor" with Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday night.  Surprisingly, he was a little deceiving to Bill O'Reilly in stating a poll that showed the president was winning big in the government shutdown.  Krauthammer touted the Washington Post-ABC poll  the only poll that had such a big discrepancy between the president and the GOP congress.  It showed 70% blame the GOP and 51% blame the President.  Every other poll out there has this a much closer margin.  And even in that poll Krauthammer was deceptive, because O'Reilly said: "oh, it shows the GOP was 20% more to blame then the Democrats."  Charles Krauthmmer shook his head yes, but he had to know that wasn't true, because even in that poll, what Krauthammer failed to mention, the Democrats in congress were blamed by 61% of the American people.  So, even in that poll which was most favorable to the president, while they blame the Republicans more, it is very close.  But Krauthammer never disclosed that, and because he didn't disclose that I wonder, just slightly in the back of my mind, if his just held meeting with the president had anything to do with the usually 'careful with the facts', Krauthammer's reluctance to correct O'Reilly.  Plus, why would Dr. Krauthammer pick the one most favorable poll to the president?

That is why I feel it was a  big mistake for not just Dr. Krauthammer but the others in the "gang of five," to meet with the president with a condition of secrecy.


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