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Monday, January 12, 2009

Obma & the Scripted Media

Obama and the Scripted Media:


From the media blog on National Review On-Line:

'[We] Don't Even Bother Raising Our Hands Any More...'  [Guy Benson, January 12th post

As I watched President Bush's final tango with reporters this morning, I was reminded of how Chicago Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin described President-elect Obama's press conferences thus far:

"As ferociously as we march like villagers with torches against Blagojevich [Governor of Illinois, under Federal indictment], we have been, in the true spirit of the Bizarro universe, the polar opposite with the president-elect. Deferential, eager to please, prepared to keep a careful distance.            The Obama news conferences tell that story, making one yearn for the return of the always-irritating Sam Donaldson to awaken the slumbering press to the notion that decorum isn't all it's cracked up to be. The press corps, most of us, don't even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who've been advised they will be called upon that day."   Carol Marin, Sun Times

How long will the Obama-friendly press corps, no matter how "deferential" and "eager to please," tolerate such tight management?    (Asked by Guy Benson on his NRO blog)

This is a good question?    As I listened to the final Bush press conference on Sirius XM radio (Bloomberg channel 129 on XM), it was clear that the sitting President Bush was calling on members of the “unfriendly to Bush press corps” as they raised their hands.   And the questions pushed the soon to be former president to ‘admit mistakes’ and ‘apologize to the American people’.     Used to the unfriendly press, the Republican president fired away at his media critics in his usual folksy matter.   However, on some issues, such as the gravity of the Office of the President and keeping the American homeland safe, President Bush didn’t mince words in the face of his media critics.  

So how will the White House press corps treat President Obama next week, when it is his turn to deal with the 4th estate?     Who will be first to ask questions, along the lines of the types of questions that President Bush faced in his last press conference?     At some point, the Obama friendly press will have to choose: Should we continued the well scripted public relations campaign for Team Obama, or should we actually exercise our obligation to report the news as independent members of the press?

How the Legacy media answers this question will determine their long-term credibility as the 4th estate in American politics and reporting.

© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  


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