NYT’s Baker: Obama dominates news cycle

NYT White House correspondent Peter Baker writes today that while President Obama complains about the news cycle, "perhaps no other president has been more attuned to, or done more to dominate, the news cycle he disparages."

So far, Obama’s given three times as many interviews Bush and four times as many prime-time pressers as Clinton, leading some to question whether he’s being overexposed.

“I’m really perplexed. It’s unbelievable,” said Karen Hughes, Mr. Bush’s White House counselor. “They’ve taken his greatest political asset — his gifts as a communicator — and totally diluted them. It’s been especially notable in the last couple weeks.”

Some Democrats said Mr. Obama should worry about frittering away the novelty of his presence. “It’s a risk of overexposure,” said Joe Trippi, a political consultant. “If you use it all up on health care, you may not be able to use it on something else. But if you’re going to risk using it all up, this is the one to risk it on.”

Past presidents have been more exclusive in giving exclusives, believing they would have more impact. In their first four months, Mr. Clinton gave 11 interviews and Mr. Bush gave 18, compared with 43 by Mr. Obama, according to Martha Joynt Kumar, a presidential communications scholar at Towson State University. That has accelerated in recent days as Mr. Obama popped up in venues like“Anderson Cooper 360” on CNN and “Dr. Nancy” on MSNBC.

“In part, he is omnipresent because news organizations want to carry news about him, his goals, and his initiatives,” Professor Kumar said. “If he does not use the space he has available to him, he risks ceding it to his critics.”

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said the current news media world left little choice. “You worry about overexposure maybe very deeply in the back of your mind,” Mr. Gibbs said. “But the way the media is structured these days and the fact that it is so segmented and split up means that in order to get something to go through, you’ve got to do multiple platforms.”

As I wrote earlier this month, all those Obama "exclusives" tend to pay off for the networks.

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