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Veteran Journalists: Today's White House Reporters Are Too Timid (No, Too in Love with Obama)
US News and World Report ^ | 05/18/11 | Paul Bedard

Posted on 05/18/2011 9:11:19 AM PDT by MissesBush

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.

Davis says "I don't like today's news conferences" with the president. Kennedy's, he says, were "thoroughly unrehearsed, natural and they worked to a large extent." Today's versions, he adds, "look like they are rehearsed." [See editorial cartoons about Obama.]

Worse, he says, reporters look like stenographers. "I think democracy is noisy. The news conferences should get to back to what they were even if people are going to raise their voices."

Former Today Show newsman John Palmer went to so far as to suggest that a weakened press, a 24-hour news cycle, coupled with presidents who don't like live press conferences, have killed the impact of the events. "I think we are witnessing the demise of the televised news conference. I think its time is past," he says. [Read 10 things you didn't know about White House spokesman Jay Carney.]

"The news conference won't have the big command that it had before," he adds.

McCurry, however, says that the situation hasn't become that bad. "Reports of the press conference's death are exaggerated, I think," he says. "Presidents will need a forum like that to clear the air and give at least the appearance of accountability--and the press will continue to want to demonstrate its relevance by standing up and speaking truth to power." [Check out a roundup of this month's best political cartoons.]

But he conceded that what Palmer called the "golden age" of presidential news conferences, like the videos of an engaging JFK shown at the panel discussion, might be over. Presidents who don't like press conferences will labor through them but they won't have the magic of some of what we watched last night," says McCurry.


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 1stamendment; freepress; mediabias; msm
They're only now just noticing this? File this under D for Duhhh. And it's not timidity, it's infatuation.
1 posted on 05/18/2011 9:11:22 AM PDT by MissesBush
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To: MissesBush
PPARTY
2 posted on 05/18/2011 9:13:37 AM PDT by FrankR (A people that values its privileges above its principles will soon lose both.)
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To: MissesBush

We have a two party system and a ONE PARTY media.


3 posted on 05/18/2011 9:18:06 AM PDT by SMARTY (Conforming to non-conformity is conforming just the same.)
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To: MissesBush
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.

Former radical leftist, now conservative African American Professor Shelby Steele writes about this in his book, "White Guilt."

Young and middle-age Americans are now so conditioned to avoid the 3d rail of Race, that they believe that to question anything about Obama is to be racist.... and to be racist is the worst thing a person can be, far worse than murderer or rapeist.

Steele, like Obama from Chicago and half-black, writes that Obama was elected, certainly not for his "Hopey, Changy" message, but that Americans have been conditions to not be able to live with themselves has they NOT elected Obama.

4 posted on 05/18/2011 9:32:13 AM PDT by MindBender26 (While the MSM slept.... we have become relevant media in America.)
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To: MissesBush

You either sit there with your hands in your lap or you get banished.


5 posted on 05/18/2011 9:57:21 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: MissesBush
Norman Liebmann (Firehat.com) described Bill Clinton's press conferences as "reporter obedience training."

It's infatuation is right. They love their Democrat owners.

6 posted on 05/18/2011 10:31:35 AM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: MissesBush

Journalists are not known for being “SMART”...
They are not trained to be smart..

Journalism is the easiest degree to get in college except for Social Worker..


7 posted on 05/18/2011 10:49:57 AM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
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