The Cycle, 2/19/13, 7:00 PM ET

Fineman to press: ‘Dig instead of whine’ about lack of access

It’s not that he did it, it’s that he didn’t tell the press about it. The Cyclists and Howard Fineman discuss President Obama’s relationship with the media and why the press was so peeved when he played golf with Tiger Woods and didn’t let them know.

Increasingly, the White House can avoid the press. Here’s what reporters need to do (instead of complaining)

Updated

With all the social media and digital technology at the White House’s fingertips, the administration has enormous control over what is released to the press and the public–which gives them a lot of power to shape the national conversation each day.

Huffington Post Editorial Director Howard Fineman pointed out on Tuesday’s show, “This is a typical Washington battle where the most trivial thing generates the most discussion while ignoring the more serious story behind and above it, that nobody bothers to look at.” Still, the press needs to do its job.

As First Read pointed out Tuesday morning, “all presidents want to control their images and access to the media. And with changes in technology and the news business, the ways to do that keep growing and growing.” As Howard said on the show, the president doesn’t have to go through the press corps in order to get his message out to the country. He has Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, the White House website, and other social media outlets to help him connect with the American people.

The press can complain (and it does!) that the president doesn’t give them sufficient access. But as Howard said, “it’s our obligation as reporters and news organizations not to whine, but to dig. Ask the questions repeatedly: if they don’t answer, highlight the fact that they aren’t answering. Do the digging, as opposed to merely wanting access so you can stand around and watch the president play golf [with Tiger Woods].”

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Increasingly, the White House can avoid the press. Here's what reporters need to do (instead of complaining)

Updated