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May 11, 2010

To the Victors go the Spoils?

Ed at Hot Air picks up on a story from the Daily Caller, which asks a very good question: how do political aides rate military chauffeurs?

President Obama has expanded the very small group of top aides who are given the privilege of taxpayer-funded personal drivers — who take them from their house to work and back home again each day — to include two top political advisers.

The Bush White House did not give the same privileges to any of its political advisers, according to former Bush administration officials. There is a record of the Clinton White House doing so once for two months, according to documents obtained by The Daily Caller.

Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, both senior advisers to the president, have been given the luxurious and prestigious perk of being picked up at their homes and driven to work or around town throughout the day in government vehicles chauffeured by military drivers, according to a list of those given the benefit provided to The Daily Caller by the White House.

Jarrett also receives Secret Service protection, something Bush's political advisers did not, except for a few weeks after 9/11.

If you haven't yet, read ace's post on the media's use of the "neutral story line" and imagine how this would have been reported if the names of the advisers were Karl Rove and Karen Hughes. The story is especially troubling in light of the president's profligacy with the public's money when it comes to his own personal comfort, his choice of party food and where he chooses to go out on dates. The media reaction to each of those stories was basically a collective shrug. It's not as though they didn't report these stories, but they didn't frame them against current events.

When Bush went on vacation, the media would do stories like this about his travels. Note the last quote in this story, about him giving up golf. It's a gratuitous shot, not a piece of serious analysis. Including it at the end ensures that it's the last thought readers will have about the story. It's framing.

So yes, the media does report those stories about Obama's free-spending ways, but they do not frame them by mentioning the recession, the jobless rate or the national debt. There's nary a "some have questioned the...," or "critics wonder..." to be found in their stories. When certain administrations are in office, framing is discarded in favor of straight news reporting.

When a reporter does take the time to contrast the president's speeches against his own rhetoric, the pushback is fierce, as displayed by the links in this post.

The last time the Daily Caller had an exclusive about questionable political spending, it was picked up eagerly by the political media.

Let's see if this story, which involves taxpayer dollars, is given similar treatment.

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posted by Slublog at 09:15 AM

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