...Over the past few months, as White House cameras have been granted free reign behind the scenes, officials have blocked broadcast news outlets from events traditionally open to coverage and limited opportunities to publicly question the president himself...
"The administration has narrowed access by the mainstream media to an unprecedented extent," said ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton, who has covered seven administrations. "Access here has shriveled."
...Members of the press have always had quibbles with White House media strategies, calling cut-backs in access an affront to transparency, even as administration officials insist they're simply taking advantage of new technologies.
But some say the current dynamic is different, and dangerous.
"They're opening the door to kicking the press out of historic events, and opening the door to having a very filtered format for which they give the American public information that doesn't have any criticism allowed," said University of Minnesota journalism professor and political communication analyst Heather LaMarre.
..."If Nixon had announced he was going to start the 'Nixon channel' and said they were only going to put up stuff he approved of, people would have said, 'Oh my God, this is like Communist Russian state media,'" said David Perlmutter, director of the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication...
Oh, I'm sure TNC (The Nixon Channel) would have gotten rave reviews from the big three networks during Watergate, don't you?