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April 14, 2010

Obama's Glasnost Not Living Up to the Hype?

I do not know about you people, but I am shocked.... shocked, I tell you:

Even the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, was more talkative with the press than Obama. Michelle Jamrisko, with Japan's Kyodo News, noted in her pool report that Hu, at his session with Obama, spoke to the Chinese media in Chinese, while Obama limited himself mostly to "say hello to the cameras" and "thank you everybody."

Obama's official schedule for Tuesday would have pleased China's Central Committee. Excerpts: "The President will attend the Heads of Delegation working lunch. This lunch is closed press. . . . The President will meet with Prime Minster Erdogan of Turkey. This meeting is closed press. . . . The President will attend Plenary Session II of the Nuclear Security Summit. This session is closed press."

Reporters, even those on the White House beat for two decades, said these were the most restricted such meetings they had ever seen. They complained to both the administration and White House Correspondents' Association, which will discuss the matter Thursday with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

The restrictions have become a common practice for the Obama White House. When Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu came to the White House a couple of weeks ago, reporters were kept away. Soon after that, Obama signed an executive order on abortion, again without any coverage.

I await, with poorly concealed anticipation, the flood of articles about The Most Secretive White House Evah: about a President who surrounds himself with sycophants and can't tolerate dissenting voices; about the pressing need of a free society for a free and unfettered press corps who will afflict the powerful and comfort the afflicted.

Oh, wait. They did get to ask questions:

Finally, away from other leaders, Obama took reporters' questions for 20 minutes. They were tough and skeptical questions that punctured the banal readouts: pointing out that the nonproliferation agreements weren't binding, noting China's equivocation on sanctions against Iran, and pressing Obama on the failure to curb North Korea's weapons. The Post's Scott Wilson asked Obama if he would call on Israel, which skipped the summit, to declare its nuclear weapons.

"I'm not going to comment on their program," Obama said.

Not surprising. But it's still important that the questions are asked.

It's comforting to know that our intrepid press corps aren't taking this lying down.

Posted by Cassandra at April 14, 2010 08:14 AM

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But it's still important that the questions are asked.

That the questions themselves are softballs is only of secondary importance, and expecting actual answers doesn't enter into the equation...

Posted by: BillT at April 14, 2010 12:08 PM

Chuck Fina.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 14, 2010 12:21 PM

The press got used to playing executive softball during the last administration.

Posted by: I Call BS at April 14, 2010 12:27 PM

Right, because Bush had such an easy time in the press. /sarc

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 14, 2010 12:31 PM

Obie is basically a totalitarian. I understand Michelle dresses him up like mussolini and then sodomizes him.

Posted by: Mark at April 14, 2010 12:39 PM

And IC got used to finding scapegoats because... what, liberal indoctrination camp...

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 14, 2010 06:31 PM

"It's comforting to know that our intrepid press corps aren't taking this lying down."

We need a sarcasm font or something.
(Not for the quote, just in general)

Posted by: camojack at April 15, 2010 01:14 AM