May 26th, 2010
By Bryon York, Washington Examiner
Obama is pushing the press around
Will Barack Obama go an entire year without holding a formal news conference? He’s getting close: The president’s last full-scale session with the press was on July 22, 2009, which was 307 days ago.
When Obama last held a big news conference, there had not yet been terrorist attacks at Fort Hood, Detroit, and Times Square. Scott Brown was an unknown Massachusetts state senator. There was no national health care bill, much less national health care law. Tiger Woods appeared to be a model family man.
A lot can happen in 307 days, which is far longer than George W. Bush or Bill Clinton ever went between news conferences.
In its defense, the White House says Obama answers a lot of questions from reporters, just not in the traditional news-conference setting. In fact, the president does a lot of one-on-one interviews, frequently with sympathetic reporters. But even in terms of brief question-and-answer sessions with the White House press corps, he has still done fewer than Bush or Clinton.
More troubling is that Obama makes no secret of his disdain for the press. Just look at the scene in the Oval Office May 18, when Obama invited a few journalists to watch him sign a new bill — it just happened to be the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act.
“Speaking of press freedom, could you answer a couple of questions on BP?” CBS’s Chip Reid asked Obama after the signing.
“You’re certainly free to ask them, Chip,” Obama said.