Monday, May 17, 2010

Dear Media: It's not just about you

I'm getting a bit tired of this complaint from the White House press corps. Oh the audacity! President Obama holds a signing for a Freedom of the Press bill and doesn't take any questions from the White House pool. It never seems to occur to them there might be a reason for that.

It's not that I don't empathize with the press corps position. As I often say, I'm become fond of many of them since I got to know them through twitter. I get that they have a job to do, but they don't seem to acknowledge that so does Obama and questions take up his time, which is pretty valuable and in great demand.

Furthermore, let's be realistic here. Chances are no one was going to ask a question about the bill. Much more likely that they would ask about Kagan being gay or Iran's latest move to sell uranium. I know the reporters have to answer to producers who are looking for soundbytes, but one stray wrong word from Obama could end up being the "controversy" of the week and take up the president's time on some frivolous side issue. In other words, there's two sides to this equation.

And if you think I'm overstating the problem, I have two words for you. Beer Summit. That presser was supposed to be about the health care reform bill. Nobody talked about health care reform at all, for at least a week after the last question at the presser. Everybody talked about racism. And beer. A lot. So while I do think Obama has a responsibility to answer to the media and undergo public scrutiny, I can also see why he would want to have some control over the timing of it.

And in this particular case, I'm on Obama's side. This bill was as much, if not more, to honor Daniel Pearl as it was to acknowledge freedom of the press. It would have been disrespectful to the Pearl family to allow it to turn into a media circus.

Adding this is why I love Ken Bazinet. He clearly understands that there is a time and a place to bitch about Obama's lack of access and this wasn't one of them.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Blogger merlallen said...

these same guys had no problem with bush's prescreened questions, did they?

7:36:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

If they did have a problem, they never mentioned it.

8:06:00 AM  

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