The White House’s relationship with the reporters who cover it has blown hot and cold throughout history. And this year, some reporters say, things have taken a decidedly frosty turn.
When a reporter gets something wrong or is perceived as being too aggressive, the response is often swift and sometimes at top volume, reporters say.
“They shoot first and ask questions later,” said Julie Mason, who has reported on the George W. Bush and Obama White Houses for the Houston Chronicle, the Washington Examiner and Politico. In one of the e-mails that reporters have dubbed “nastygrams,” White House press secretary Jay Carney branded one of Mason’s stories “partisan, inflammatory and tendentious.” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, reacting to comments Mason made in a TV discussion, sent her an e-mail that included an animated picture of a crying mime — a visual suggestion that she was whining.
“They don’t seem to realize or care that [e-mails sent from the White House] will become part of the official archives of the presidency,” says Mason, who last month became host of a national talk show about politics on Sirius XM Radio.