A longtime White House reporter said on Monday that the Obama administration has been more "extreme" about keeping the press away than any she's ever covered.
Ann Compton, the ABC journalist who has reported on every president since Gerald Ford, told Politico that the way the White House press corps was treated by the Obama administration was a "disgrace."
"The president's day-to-day policy development ... is almost totally opaque to the reporters trying to do a responsible job of covering it," she said. "There are no readouts from big meetings he has with people from the outside, and many of them aren't even on his schedule. This is different from every president I covered. This White House goes to extreme lengths to keep the press away."
The awkwardness between the Obama administration and the White House press is nothing new -- this past summer, for instance, reporters blanched at White House attempts to edit a press pool report. But the latest fracas -- over the lack of access to a golf game that Obama played with Tiger Woods on Sunday -- has brought the journalists' anger out into the open again. Obama eventually had a brief off the record conversation with reporters on Monday night but, judging by Compton's comments, journalists see a deeper issue.
Ed Henry, the White House correspondent for Fox News who is also president of the White House Correspondents' Association, made the rounds on Monday to defend the press corps' indignation at being kept from covering the game. He told HuffPost's Michael Calderone on Monday night that the protest was about having a "minimal level" of access to Obama, not about a desire to watch him play golf.
Two people who see a tempest in a teapot? Henry's Fox News colleagues Bill O'Reilly and Charles Krauthammer. The anchor and pundit dismissed Henry's objections during a conversation on Monday.
"It is a trivial issue," Krauthammer said. "The guy wants to play golf. The guy deserves a couple of days off. He wants privacy. Big deal. This is -- this is the biggest non-media, non-story that the media have created since the Kardashian weddings."
"The press being banned from covering his leisure activities, you don't care?" O'Reilly asked.
"Absolutely not," Krauthammer said. "You want to watch him shank and slice?"
"I'm kind of with you on this, I don't care," O'Reilly said.
Watch the O'Reilly conversation: