White House Press Corps; Inhumane Bastards Or Just Unprincipled Hacks?

If Obama gave a press conference in the BRADY room to talk about gun control, and the first three questions from the White House press corps were all about the fiscal cliff (along with two follow ups), what would that say about a) the state of our watchdog media today, b) the chances of the media getting behind any serious attempt to overcome the NRA and the gun lobby c) the general level of empathy for dead kids among the WH press corps?

Discuss, because that’s exactly what is happening as I write.


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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I watched, too, and was kind of shocked with the seeming unawareness of what Obama had just said. One reporter finally asked a question relevant to the subject of the press conference, although, IIRC, it was in the vein of “Yeah, and what do you think you’ll actually accomplish?”

    I didn’t quite get Jake Tapper’s question at the end, which seemed to be along the same lines, but President Obama’s response got a little sharp. The transcript probably should be checked on that.

    Dead kids? What? We’ve got our deadlines to write about another manufactured gummint crisis. Much easier to do.

  • I think very nasty things about the Washington poodle pack press corps and the “fiscal cliff” Perils of Pauline serial. However, I don’t want the press to be either a political player or the Greek chorus for the country. This doesn’t mean that I believe the myth of press objectivity; just that I don’t want to see the press prioritizing any political goal above aggressive, accurate reporting.

    However, if the press does adopt a political goal and wants to display a level of empathy for dead kids, can I nominate the drone strikes in the Middle East as a suitable subject?

  • Sam Knight:

    While gun control is an important issue, and one that clearly needs addressing after the depraved Newtown massacre,criticism of reporters’ fiscal cliff questions was a touch harsh.

    For one, the President has just proposed to cut Social Security, and deserves to held to account. Budget woes might be trumped up by the right, but — like it or not — cuts are happening and our leaders must be forced to justify them.

    Secondly, as a POLITICO reporter (and, full disclosure, friend) Byron Tau pointed out on Twitter:”If the White House wanted reporters to ask about the topic of the day, it should offer the press corp [sic] more routine access to Obama.” (Not that I would describe Newtown as a “topic of the day,” but we can multitask, can we not? Cuts to the social safety net could end up harming just as many, if not more people than gun violence, after all).

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