Kelly Clarkson and the White House Press Corps

A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 19 2013 4:01 PM

Kelly Clarkson and the Simple Economics of Marginalizing the White House Press Corps

Kelly Clarkson

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

If you want to understand the brouhaha over the White House press corps whining about its own marginalization at the hands of the Obama administration, what you really need to do is read Kelly Clarkson's blog post responding to something veteran record producer Clive Davis said about her in his new memoir.

She wrote it, presumably tweeted about it, and then through some chain Amanda Terkel came to tweet it and that's where I saw it. Clarkson is famous, and we're at a point in technology where if you're famous you can communicate to people. It wasn't like that in 1992. Back in 1992, even a very famous and powerful person had to communicate to a mass public through a handful of national TV broadcast networks, one cable news network, and a few major magazines. There were a lot of newspapers, but each newspaper generally only covered one area and faced little competition. If the Dallas Morning News chose not to cover what you were pitching, Dallas newspaper readers wouldn't read about it.


And few people are more famous than the president of the United States, or have more dedicated staff on hand to help him communicate through other channels. One can rage against this trend or not as one likes, but it's pretty fundamental. The smaller the number of distribution channels, the more powerful people had to bow to the whims of the powerful people who owned the distribution channels. Today, controlling a distribution channel doesn't make you as powerful as it used to. That's good for Kelly Clarkson and Barack Obama, but bad for the White House Correspondents Association.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.