Carol Marin is political columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as political editor for Chicago’s NBC 5 News, as well as interviewer/contributor to WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” program.
As such, she may be one of this nation’s most Obama-knowledgeable of all in our media.
As a former CBS news correspondent, she reported for “60 Minutes.”
All of which makes it beyond belief that almost all of this nation’s media – with the exception of the Media Research Center – failed to report what this Obama news authority wrote in the Sun Times on Sunday, Jan. 4 of this year:
“As ferociously as we march like villagers with torches against Blagojevich, 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.”
I doubt that I am alone among veteran White House correspondents in noticing that former President George W. Bush, at news conferences toward the end of his second term, frequently glanced down at an apparent list, before calling on previously-selected reporters.
That is why I – and I suspect some other correspondents – stopped attending those “fixed” events, where we were given no chance to ask questions, and were assigned seats only to provide a press-crowd effect.
The result was reported by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who noted:
“The White House had high expectations for yesterday’s historic news conference. ‘ONE CORRESPONDENT PER ORGANIZATION,’ proclaimed the bulletin sent to reporters. ‘STANDING ROOM ONLY FOR NON-SEAT HOLDERS.’ But when the appointed hour of 9:15 a.m. arrived, the last two rows in the seven-row briefing room were empty, and a press aide told White House interns to fill those seats.”
The Carol Marin report in the Sun Times of Barack Obama’s Chicago is so serious a warning of presidential press conferences that are “fixed” in advance with some reporters selected for questions and others left out, that it raises the serious question as to whether such reportorial selectees by Obama may not have supplied him with their questions in advance.
There is historical precedent for such a possibility.
The White Hose Historical Society reports:
“Herbert Hoover received questions submitted by the press in advance” and “selected only those which he was interested in answering.”