Fifty percent of White House reporters say a White House official has lied to them and 42 percent agree that the Obama White House is "the most secretive" they've ever covered while only 20 percent disagree, according to a new survey by Politico Magazine.
The survey, based on a lengthy questionnaire filled out by 61 correspondents who cover the presidency, shows a deep skepticism toward the Obama administration and reflects a tension between the media and the president and his aides – a situation that has been customary over the years regardless of who was in the Oval Office.
The survey finds that 39 percent of the White House reporters have had a White House official swear at them. Forty-one percent say George W. Bush's White House was more forthcoming with information for reporters than Barack Obama's White House; only five percent say the Obama team is more forthcoming; 13 percent say they are about the same, and 41 percent aren't sure.
"Most questions don't get answered," said Mark Knoller of CBS News. Asked the best way to get information from the White House, Jonathan Karl of ABC News said, "By going outside the White House – to Congress, the Pentagon, the State Department or the political world." And Caren Bohan of Reuters said, "From the outside in."
If they could get the Obama White House to change one thing, reporters, not surprisingly, chose more access. Steve Holland of Reuters said the president should "take questions from White House correspondents twice a week."
Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast added: "Unchain aides to speak more and speak more on background." Glenn Thrush of Politico Magazine said, "Lose their false, phony and utterly unearned sense of intellectual and moral superiority. It's useful from a tactical perspective – to keep reporters on the defensive – but it engenders a hostility among the in-house press corps, who are, by and large, a well-intentioned and intelligent group."
- Sixty-one percent say White House officials complain about their stories "sometimes," 8 percent say "often," 5 percent say "most of the time," 3 percent say "nearly all of the time" and 23 percent say "never."
- 58 percent think former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, will be the next president. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, came in second with 6 percent.
- Asked which television show or movie "captures Washington best," 41 percent said "The West Wing," 28 percent said "Veep" and 20 percent said "House of Cards."