Your Press Corps Is Getting to the Bottom of White House Tour-gate

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 13 2013 2:45 PM

Your Press Corps Is Getting to the Bottom of White House Tour-gate

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A tour group poses for a photo in front of the White House as snow falls on March 6, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Two weeks ago the White House announced a popular program would be felled by the scythe of sequestration. There would be, for now, no White House tours.

Republicans reacted with outrage. Thirteen Republican senators sent a letter to the administration asking them to reconsider: "To take a measure such as shutting down public access to a national treasure must be done with careful consideration." When one party criticizes a decision, that decision becomes a Story, and so reporters started asking whether the Secret Service or the White House had made the call. "I have to say this was not a decision that went up to the White House," the president told ABC News. Fox News' Ed Henry, last seen expressing the press corps' outrage for being blocked from covering a presidential golf game with Tiger Woods, chased the story, finding that the Secret Service had cut its budget but the White House itself had canceled the tours.

The result? Well, note the number of search results:

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 3.03.45 PM

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 3.03.20 PM

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 3.03.07 PM

Another backfire of the "Washington Monument strategy," and a bonus lesson about how beltway media works.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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