Veteran Journo’s: Today’s White House Reporters Are Too Timid


Several veteran and prize-winning journalists who covered presidents from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush say that the current crop of White House correspondents are too timid and deferential and have played a role in killing the impact of presidential news conferences.

“If you watch an Obama news conference, and watched a Bush news conference previous to that, where correspondents sit in their seats with their hands folded on their laps, [it’s] as if they are in the room with a monarch and they have to wait to be recognized by the president,” says Sid Davis, the former NBC Washington bureau chief who covered nine presidents. “It looks like they are watching a funeral service at [Washington funeral firm] Joseph Gawler’s and it shouldn’t be that way.” [See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.]

Adds Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Haynes Johnson, “It’s all very stale, very structured, very pale.”

And longtime NBC and ABC reporter Sander Vanocur: “You want to know what’s wrong with the press? The press is what’s wrong with the press.”

They and others anchored a media panel Monday night organized by the White House Historical Association to herald the 50th anniversary of the first live televised news conference, conducted by JFK. Former Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry moderated the discussion from the very same State Department Dean Acheson Auditorium where Kennedy eventually conducted 60 televised news conferences with ease and humor. [See who has been visiting the White House.]

Each of the journalists attended the press conferences and were blunt on JFK’s style and honesty.

When the topic turn to today’s White House press corps, the grizzled veterans were dismissive, calling them weak imitations of their Cold War predecessors.

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Can’t imagine why this would be the case.
Let’s take a walk through Obama’s history with the press…..

He carefully chose only the press he wanted on his own (stinky*) flight when he was candidate and ”president-elect” Obama.

He tried to issue a vandetta against Fox News early in his presidency.
Only he was thwarted by the united front that all his liberal media made with Fox against him, much to his surprise.

He goes in with a prepared list of who he is going to call on, not even aware who they are, where they are sitting or what they look like.
He does seem to already know their question, however, and is therefore well prepared (even teleprompted sometimes) with his answer.

He banned (then, when outed, unbanned) the San Francisco Chronical after one reporter used a videophone to report on him in CA.

He JUST this week banned the Boston Herald because he didn’t like the way they covered him in comparison to Mitt Romney! Of course the Boston Herald can cover him by going out and buying other (liberal) papers and rewriting their stories!

Obama has been petty and crass, one-sided and thin-skinned in his dealings with the press.
Honestly, I am surprised more of the media hasn’t fallen away from him than already have.
(Even the Apostle Paul changed his way 180′ degrees when the scales fell off his eyes.)

*According to CBS reporter Dean Reynolds Obama’s plane “is cramped, uncomfortable and smells terrible most of the time.”

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