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“You are seeing only what they want you to see”

Behind-the-scenes decision-makers in the Obama Administration have long controlled this president’s image. Not that this is anything new to those who have been paying attention for the past five years, begging the question why it has taken so long for 38 news organizations, which includes all major broadcast and cable networks, wire services, online services and newspapers to say something about it?”

Headlines last week blared, “White House blocks access to Obama events, newsgroups say,” over an accompanying McLatchy report that the White House is imposing “unprecedented limitations on photojournalists,” thus harming “the public’s ability to monitor its own government.”

The administration has long practiced end-runs around open media coverage, aggressively avoiding it by using social media to get its messaging out. Obama handlers deftly protect and control his image, using online platforms Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and government-sponsored websites and blogs to publicize carefully crafted news releases and images of the president.

“You are only seeing what they want you to see,” said Lucy Dalglish, the dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.

Underscoring the arms-length access to POTUS: a limited, private by invitation only off-the-record meeting of certain “journalists” to the White House last week.

Tweeted Ed Henry of Fox News: “MSNBC hosts relocated to West Wing today; @WeGotEd @Lawrence @ezraklein arrived for apparent meet w/President (Fox’s @TheJuanWilliams too)”

As Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro reported, “This is not the first time that the White House has wooed specific groups of journalists.”

New media has for some time been onto the White House tactic of buffing up the president’s image. A recent example: Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin tweeted about this White House photo of POTUS “honoring JFK” on the 50th Anniversary of his assassination, “Because nothing says ‘Honor JFK’ like gazing at the back of Barack Obama’s head gazing up at JFK.”

And last year, when President Obama “honored” lunar astronaut Neil Armstrong with a White House photo of what else? “Dear Leader” gazing at the moon.

Noted one tweeter who summed it up rather neatly: “He is to the presidency what velvet Elvis is to fine art.”

Despite the White House’s attempt to protect and control, it inadvertently reveals more about the supposed transparency of its occupant. Meanwhile, Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals #5 parlor trick continues to be played back on the White House administration by savvy observers who ridicule and mock unabatedly.

“Today the world has become a much more dangerous place”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uses social media to its fullest advantage – getting his message out to the world when the media will not.

Twitchy reported, “Benjamin Netanyahu tweet-blasts ‘historic mistake’ Iran deal; Asks key question; Update: Israel has right to defend itself.”

In a series of five consecutive tweets, PM Netanyahu wrote: “This is not a historic agreement, it’s a historic mistake. Lifting the pressure, this ‘first step,’ might be the last step. 1/5 #BadDeal”

Who do Congressional members follow on Twitter?

New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer took a look at which members of Congress are using Twitter. Ninety-seven percent of them have an official Twitter presence. Who do they follow? Using Twiangulate, it was discovered that members of Congress mostly follow news organizations, journalists and other politicians. Each side of the political aisle? Not so much.

Twitter polling? Not yet, survey says.

Despite evidence to the contrary (see my column of Nov. 11th), Twitter will not replace traditional polling anytime soon. According to a Pew Research Center and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation survey, only 16 percent of American adults use Twitter, with just half of them using it as a news source.

So where are social media users getting their news?

Facebook.

“Facebook is by far the largest social networking site among U.S. adults, and with half of its users getting news there, is also the largest among U.S. adults when it comes to getting news. As discussed in an earlier report, roughly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults use the site, and half of those users get news there – amounting to 30% of the general population,” according to the Pew Research Journalism Project.

“People who use Twitter for news tend to be younger (45 percent are 18-29 years old) and more educated than the average American. About 40 percent of Twitter news consumers have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 29 percent of the total population. Using tweets to gauge popular opinion for a political candidate may be slightly more accurate for this younger and highly educated demographic.”

For more detailed info, head to POLITICO.

Speaking of Twitter, what about that hashtag thingie? The pound sign – a new use invented by millions of people using Twitter.

One last tweet note: how Twitter is getting tougher with government snoops.

Give thanks

And for Thanksgiving, what could be better than a turkey? Happy Thanksgiving!

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