By lex, on June 24th, 2009
Despite denying foreknowledge, the Bush admin took some hits from the perpetually outraged set when FEMA staged the set of a hastily called presser which drew No Actual Reporters. Jeff Gannon became the target of all kinds of personal calumny (and a fair bit of humor) from Actual Reporters (and the HuffPo crewe) for asking softball questions at Bush press conferences in 2005.
So it is with some relish that I await the howls of outrage from Actual Reporters (and the HuffPo crewe) to the Potemkin Village that the White House Press Room has become. Courtesy, you know: Of HuffPo.
The WaPo’s Dana Milbank gingerly tests the waters:
After the obligatory first question from the Associated Press, Obama treated the overflowing White House briefing room to a surprise. “I know Nico Pitney is here from the Huffington Post,” he announced.
Obama knew this because White House aides had called Pitney the day before to invite him, and they had escorted him into the room. They told him the president was likely to call on him, with the understanding that he would ask a question about Iran that had been submitted online by an Iranian. “I know that there may actually be questions from people in Iran who are communicating through the Internet,” Obama went on. “Do you have a question?”
Pitney recognized his prompt. “That’s right,” he said, standing in the aisle and wearing a temporary White House press pass. “I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian.”
Pitney asked his arranged question. Reporters looked at one another in amazement at the stagecraft they were witnessing. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel grinned at the surprised TV correspondents in the first row.
Jump on in boys, the water’s fine.
Update: The NYT notices too. Non-judgmentally, of course.
(Liberal bloggers long expressed suspicions that the Bush White House orchestrated news conference questions in advance, which it did not. On Tuesday, there was no outcry.)
No. No of course not.