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Wacky Wafers In the White House Briefing Room

There's no more prestigious post for a Washington journalist than to be a member of the White House press corps.

But oddly enough, it isn't just the big network and newspaper hotshots who occupy the coveted seats in the White House briefing room. The real characters there are people like Raghubir Goyal.

Not familiar with that byline? Well, it's not clear anyone is.

Goyal, as he's known, is the Washington correspondent for the India Globe. But you won't find his stories online. The link to his Web site doesn't work, and as Washington Post researcher Alice Crites discovered, there are no stories written by Raghubir Goyal on either Nexis or Factiva.

Still, for decades, on a daily basis, Goyal has shown up in the briefing room with his hand up, usually to ask about U.S. policies toward India and Pakistan. (Once he brought a basket of mangoes for Tony Snow to deliver to President Bush.)

His questions are almost always off topic and rarely, if ever, produce news. (As he says in the video, "I can't go with the flow every day.")

Goyal - a very nice and pleasant guy, by the way, who often extends "greetings" on behalf of his entire country, has been hanging out at the White House since the Carter administration. But his free pass to the hottest history-making spot in town could soon itself become a thing of the past.

The new White House press office faces one of its first challenges with the media this year as White House press passes come up for renewal. As you can see in our video, Goyal isn't the only one whose press credentials may not survive the Obama administration.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  March 11, 2009; 6:45 AM ET
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Mary Ann:

First off, I do NOT buy the premise of your lede.

If it were true, the "poseurs" would be asking about THIS:



cc: VP Joe Biden; DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano; Defense Sec. Robert Gates; Sec. of State Hillary R. Clinton; CIA Dir. Leon Panetta; FBI Dir. Robert Mueller; Secret Service Dir. Mark Sullivan



Seattle Police Chief Kerlikowske, the drug czar designate, knows from the inside how community policing programs funded by FEMA, DOJ and other agencies were transmogrified by secretive Bush administration ideologues in security, law enforcement and intel agencies into a constitutionally-exempt citizen vigilante army... "American Gestapo" that has usurped local law enforcement and has violated civil and human rights of U.S. citizens "targeted" by federal security and intelligence agencies as "undesirables," "dissidents," or "mental defectives."

Obama officials and Congress should quiz Kerlikowske on what he knows about the following human and civil rights abuses that have been reported by victims of this officially-sanctioned vigilantism -- deemed legal by the now-discredited Bush DOJ "torture memos":

* Silent, covert microwave radiation weapons assaults on innocent but "targeted" U.S. citizens;

* Terroristic vigilante community gang stalking, surreptitious home entry, police-tolerated vandalism;

* Secret federal "programs of personal financial destruction" that have politicized the IRS, which victims say has been used as a tool of "social cleansing."



Now you have on your team an official who can tell you the WHOLE truth -- so you can compare his account with what you have been told by your Bush holdovers.


FOR MORE on the ongoing extrajudicial punishment network:

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 11, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

No more Goyal foil!?! What will future Press Secretaries do?

Posted by: shannonotoole | March 11, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I do hope Goyal's press pass expires this time around. If no one wants to move to help him to the exit, then I will feel that this is my turn to get a seat in the front row.

After all, I am trained journalist by profession have written for papers that exist and have a website that proves my case.

This is all very interesting. Will keep an eye on how this develops.

Posted by: Victoria5 | March 11, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | March 11, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"There's no more prestigious post for a Washington journalist than to be a member of the White House press corps." --- Umm... doesn't the article prove this not to be true?

Posted by: MPM1 | March 11, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Just this week, "The Daily Show's" John Oliver had a very apropos piece on the White House press corps. It renewed my belief that Helen Thomas is a national treasure.

Posted by: kcc3 | March 12, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately - for you and your readers - a much better job on the press corps was done by John Oliver of "The Daily Show." You didn't even notice that Chuck Todd looks like Murray, the manager of the Flight of the Conchords, or, in my opinion, an older, goateed Jimmy Fallon

Posted by: achaprack | March 12, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

It's about time the press office became more discriminating on WH credentials. Covering the WH should not be a carnival. Good grief!
-- jim lynn

Posted by: lynn36867 | March 12, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Wacky White House correspondents? This piece barely scratches the surface. Here are two from the old days: Naomi Nover, the one-woman chief of Nover News Service, white-haired and in her 80s, who made all the Presidential trips but never wrote a lick; and the irascible Lester Kinsolving, always pontificating about something from out of left field. I think he was an Episcopal priest.

Posted by: genec1 | March 12, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

This could be an idiosyncrasy of my machine, but the voiceover portion of the video plays fine, while the sound is indecipherable during the interviews.

Posted by: Quinn7 | March 12, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Show Mr Goyal to the door. Clone Helen Thomas.

Posted by: Observer44 | March 13, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't know watch to think about helen. watch funny videos at

Posted by: roverfind | March 16, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

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