A survey of White House corespondents found that an overwhelming plurality believe the George W. Bush administration was “more forthcoming with information for reporters” than the Obama administration is.
The Politico survey of 60 different White House correspondents varying in age and experience comes two days before the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
The survey found that 41 percent of journalists believe the Bush White House was more forthcoming than Obama, while just 5 percent believe the Obama White House is more forthcoming. Another 41 percent said they weren’t sure, while 13 percent said they think the administrations are “about the same.”
In another question, White House reporters were asked whether they agree with New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson’s recent assessment that the Obama administration is “the most secretive White House” she has ever covered.
A plurality of 42 percent said they agreed with the “most secretive” statement, 20 percent disagreed and 37 percent said they weren’t sure.
On the question of honesty, 50 percent said they have been lied to by a White House official.
The results could be considered a surprise given a public perception that the media have covered the Obama administration positively and covered the Bush administration negatively.
Despite the public perception, most White House reporters said they do not believe Obama has gotten favorable coverage. Sixty-eight percent said the president has gotten the coverage he deserves; 25 percent believe Obama has gotten better coverage than he deserves; and 7 percent believe he has received worse coverage.
On the question of “the best journalist to ever cover the White House,” the late Helen Thomas, who covered the presidencies of John F. Kennedy through Obama tied with former Washington Post reporter Ann Devroy, who covered the Reagan White House. Thomas ultimately lost her job after making anti-Israel remarks.
The survey found that 61 percent believe the White House press briefings should change by spreading the questioning around instead of “serial interviews by the first row” of reporters.
Offering predictions for the future, 58 percent of White House reporters said they believe former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the next president. Twenty-five percent answered, “who knows,” 6 percent said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and 4 percent said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Asked how many times in the last week they had interviewed a White House official who did not work in the communications or press offices, 53 percent responded, “Are you kidding?”
Additionally, 39 percent of reporters said they had been sworn at by a White House official.