In another pro-Biden piece, the Washington Post praises Joe Biden’s White House for not leaking to the press. It contrasts the Biden White House to Donald Trump’s.
There’s no denying that the Trump administration was plagued by excessive leaking. It’s a mark against the former president that (1) he surrounded himself with leakers and (2) he wasn’t able to stop the leaking.
But the Post goes further than just contrasting the two White House operations. Its reporter, Paul Farhi, is gushing in his commendation of Biden and his staff:
Biden is surrounded by a close circle of people who have worked with him, and with one another, for years. Senior White House adviser Anita Dunn is a holdover from the administration of Barack Obama. Chief of staff Ron Klain was one of Biden’s chiefs of staff during his vice presidency. . . .
The senior staff’s experience and evident familiarity with one another has created a different operating environment, White House reporters say, with fewer apparent power struggles. At least none that have been leaked.
“There’s no real competing for his attention” among aides, said a veteran White House correspondent. “I think he listens to new people, but at the end of the day, he’s around the same familiar faces. So, [there’s] less jockeying.”
Farhi’s article raises two questions. First, how does the amount of leaking at this White House compare to the amount in past administrations, excluding Trump’s, in the first two and a half months? Remember, we’re very early into this administration.
Farhi doesn’t answer this question, but does acknowledge that Bush 43 ran a pretty tight ship and that, as time goes on, leaks will start coming from the Biden White House.
Second, how hard are reporters trying? During the Trump administration, a brigade of reporters looked at everything the White House did with a skeptical eye and played staffers against one another.
Is this happening now? Or are reporters far more inclined to accept what the Biden administration says at face value? If so, it seems inevitable that they won’t obtain leaks at nearly the same rate as before.
Farhi doesn’t address this question. He seems to assume that reporters are trying just as hard to get leaks from this White House as from Trump’s. I doubt that they are.