The Herald's Right to be Angry at Obama

Yesterday, the Herald wasn’t allowed full access to President Obama, as he stopped in Boston to raise money for the 2012 election. The White House said that only one local media outlet got to be the so-called pool reporter, the one that goes everywhere that the President publicly goes, and the Globe had already secured the pool reporter slot. But the White House also offered another reason to snub the Herald: It didn’t like the paper’s cover on March 8. Back then, the Herald ran a cover shot of Obama under the headline, “Why He’s Failing: And how to get it right.” The prescriptive end of it alluded to an op-ed inside, about job creation, written by one Mitt Romney. Two months later, the White House was effectively arguing, You used your cover to slam the President; therefore you will not have full access to him.

That’s a ridiculous stance. No, wait — it’s actually worse than ridiculous. It’s Nixonian. Trafficking in such pettiness does more to harm Obama’s campaign than whatever risk the White House hoped to mitigate by excluding the Herald. Look, the Herald does many reprehensible things: routinely runs thinly sourced and flat-out wrong stories for which it rarely apologizes; uses infomercial gimmicks as a means to sell papers; publishes Howie Carr. But excluding it from presidential coverage because of a conservative bent in its editorial pages — an ideology that, okay, creeps into the news pages, too — is stupid and exasperating, especially for a White House whose leader is a constitutional law scholar. That’s the sad thing here: Whether it’s dissing the Herald or, as the New Yorker shows this week, carrying on a draconian case against a man who should be applauded for his whistle-blowing leaks, the current administration demonstrates its propensity, time and again, to act in manners just as immature as the last one.

That’s why the Herald is right to be angry. It is — and it’s amazing to consider this — the adult in the conversation.