|February 17, 2009|
|Ditch the List of Favored Reporters, President Obama|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Imagine the media outrage if George Bush showed up at a press conference with a list of reporters from whom to take questions from. The cries of outrage would have been deafening. |
There is nary a negative whisper of criticism, however, about President Obama who carried such a list into his first press conference on Monday. The Wall Street Journal's editorial page is a noble exception.
It wrote today:
“Presidents are free to conduct press conferences however they like, but the decision to preselect questioners is an odd one, especially for a White House famously pledged to openness. We doubt that President Bush, who was notorious for being parsimonious with follow-ups, would have gotten away with preselecting his interlocutors.”
President Bush had his own problems with the press. For instance, one won’t find a bust of Jeff Gannon (e.g., the bogus reporter Washington press corps plant) in the National Press Club.
To his credit, Obama did have Major Garrett of Fox News — hardly in the president’s corner — on his list. But having a list of preselected reporters is a bush idea, opening the Obama Administration to charges of favoritism. It’s an over-the-top bid to control the media, killing the idea of a give and take.
This blogger gives the president the benefit of the doubt, writing off the list as a rookie mistake. Obama should dust off his “I screwed up” line at the next presser and tell reporters that he has forever ditched the list.
There are more important matters to attend to. Getting Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s presentation skills up to speed tops that list. At his presser, Obama promised Geithner was going to wow the nation the following day with details of the massive $2.5T bailout plan. The secretary bombed and the market tanked. A friend says Geithner had that Dick Nixon “I am not a crook” gaze.
The last thing Team Obama needs is Tricky Dick as its role model.
(Image via Foxnews.com)
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