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Wag the Blog: Obama's New Media World



President Obama took a different approach to his second prime-time press conference. (Richard Lipski / TWP)

The biggest story coming out of President Obama's prime-time press conference earlier this week wasn't his defense of his economic plans or his plea for patience from the American public.

It was the reporters he called on and, as importantly, those he didn't.

Unbeknownst to most of the public, a pecking order exists at any White House press briefing -- from those given daily by press secretary Robert Gibbs to those by the president himself.

Traditionally, the wires (Associated Press and Reuters) go first, followed by the networks and cable outlets and then the major national newspapers (including the Post). Smaller or more niche news outlets will occasionally get a question in but are not part of the usual lineup.

But, on Tuesday, Obama broke sharply with that approach -- granting Univision, Stars and Stripes and Ebony magazine questions during his press conference. The Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today did not get the chance to ask a question. (The Post did get a question in the first Obama prime-time press conference.)

Obama's reordering (at least for a night) of the media world drew huge amounts of commentary on the tubes.

Post media critic Howard Kurtz painted the strategy as part of Obama's broader pledge to do things differently in Washington. "Obama made clear during the transition that he did not plan to follow the usual journalistic pecking order," wrote Kurtz.

Michael Calderone, who writes a blog on the media at Politico, also noted the non-traditional approach adopted by Obama.

Wrote Calderone: "But in quite a departure from the first presser -- and White House protocol -- Obama skipped over the nation's top newspapers. Indeed, there were no questions from the NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. That might not sit well with the already insecure newspaper industry."

Gibbs, in an interview with the Post's own Lois Romano as part of her "Voices of Power" series, explained that the new approach to who gets to ask questions is aimed at broadening the voices in the daily discussion.

"I think what the President has done is, both now and in the transition, is call on a wide variety of people and bring people that aren't used to covering a President of the United States into the East Room to ask questions of me or ask questions of him and this administration, and I think that's healthy for democracy," Gibbs told Romano.

For today's Wag the Blog questions, we want to hear where you come down on this issue. Is Obama's decision to bypass some of the traditional media outlets a smart one that better serves the goals of his administration and the American people? Or is it a short-sighted move that risks irritating the major media movers and shakers who will ultimately guide conventional wisdom-setting in his presidency?

Offer your opinion in the comments section below. The best -- most insightful, most forcefully argued -- thoughts will be featured in a post of their own.

Go to it!

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 26, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
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Comments

After watching Obamas presidential press conference live i thought went great from questions being asked to answers we have received from the president. Obamas decision of selecting reporters from smaller or not well know News Paper companies was a brilliant idea. This goes to show you the effort he is making to bring change to Washington. I thought the idea was brilliant because it gave a chance for reporters to ask questions from different points of view, maybe they are actually concerned about the policies Being made, what effect it has on the people instead of asking about their interests. The regular Big news paper companies always ask question concerning their beliefs but when the questions come from reporters that contains a different ideology and ideas creates a perfect linkage institution. that is so because this question are being asked not form the rich people for big companies buy people from different parts of the nation that actually care for the people and address their concerns.

Posted by: Alchemist2 | March 27, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Pres. Obama is a master of symbolism and of showing the American public in different ways that he does indeed follow through on his campaign themes. Acknowledging other media sources is just one more way of emphasizing his presidency's themes of diversity and inclusion of everyone.

Posted by: jrosco3 | March 26, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Personally, if he had to shun a major media group, I'd rather it be the cable outlets rather than the newspapers.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 26, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm not really sure which ones are the puppets and which one the puppeteer? Does Obama control the media? or is it the other way around?

The one thing that I'm sure of is that this presentation should be a matinee

Posted by: MrZoltanBlack | March 26, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Just because teachers tend to call on the same "eager" students all the time doesn't mean that the others don't have valuable ideas & information to contribute to the room. Bravo, President Obama, keep pushing the DC envelope every which way!

Posted by: malvo1 | March 26, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

“Or is it a short-sighted move that risks irritating the major media movers and shakers who will ultimately guide conventional wisdom-setting in his presidency?”

The above statement expresses all too common arrogant thought among Washington insiders and mass media types. Those who subscribe to this thinking refuse to acknowledge the multitude of information sources available to us--and they dismiss the diverse population in America today. Truth be told, Americans, regardless of how we identify ourselves (e.g., African Americans, Mexican American, Asian Americans, or plain old American Americans, etc.) simply don’t need the NY Times or the Washington Post to stay informed. There are many alternative new sources available to the public.

The NY Times is a favorite news source in our household; however it is not our only news source as it is but one perspective. We understand that perspective is shaped by a multitude of factors. How the NY Times covers the conflict in the Gaza Strip is certainly not the same as Mother Jones, NPR, or the LA Times. How Ebony covers President Obama’s economic recovery plan is not the same as the Washington Post. The different perspectives and approaches are significant and important--thus, the different news organization should have access to our President. We appreciate President Obama’s break from the traditional “pecking order”—indeed, such a break is long over due.

Posted by: txgall | March 26, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Ah, a nice lesson on appeasement for the media-

Since you where such sycophant lap-dogs for Obama during the campaign, when you should have been asking a few more questions and properly vetting The One's dubious and opaque history, it's hard to try and demand your dignity now.

Obama knows he owns you, so he treats you with contempt. He no longer respects nor fears the press, and even hectors reporters to "not waste their question", and tells them when they've "got enough pictures", and even to "get back on the bus"- ouch.

Maybe next time you'll do your Constitutionally-implied duty that came with the right of a free-press, and investigate both candidates properly.

Appeasement is always seen as a sign of weakness by power-mad dictators... like Barack.

http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com

Posted by: ReaganiteRepublican | March 26, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The best Q the MSM can come up with is: Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do? (George Stephanopoulos)

If the MSM can't ask adult questions, let the new media do the asking.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 26, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Nobody outside the Palm Restaurant crowd cares about who gets called in what order at a WH press conference.

The DC press corps lives in a cocoon where they only talk to each other.

That's why they still can't figure out how BHO won (You know: How did BHO win? Everybody I know voted for McCain.) and why no one cares about BHO's Special Olympics jokes (no one was offended in the real world), returning loaned busts of Churchill, and the other foolishness the MSM obsesses over.

The success of BHO's campaign was based to a large extent on his success with the "new media," e.g., direct emails, HuffPo, DailyKos, Rachel Maddow, Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Ebony, Charley James (who broke S-mbo-gate), and Tim Dickinson (who wrote the only fact-based profile of McCain during the camapaign for Rolling Stone).

Outside the Beltway -- in places like Akron, Williamsburg, and Davenport -- no one gives a hoot about Meet the Press (audience: 38), WashPo, Broder, and that whole self-absorbed, self-important crowd.

The new media rox.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | March 26, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Control the press, squelch dissenters, form political activist groups, blame specific groups for societies woes, collect vast amounts of money for the cause - this is what democracy is all about?

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 26, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Chris, but nobody in the real world cares who asks the questions at a Presidential press conference. The public at-large only cares that the most pressing issues of the day are asked in such a way as to illicit a thoughtful and honest response from the President. That is ALL we care about.

Posted by: NMModerate1 | March 26, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

oh poor little guys and gals.........are you mad and angry 'cause you couldn't ask a question!
My heart is absolutely breaking for you.

"Is Obama's decision to bypass some of the traditional media outlets a smart one that better serves the goals of his administration and the American people?

YES---it is a smart move to be all inclusive. what, only the "big boy news outlets" are the qualified ones?
The last part...."better serves the goals of his administration and the American people"---this has no bearing.
He will serve the american people by answering ANY reporter question, in any order and manner he so chooses..

Or is it a short-sighted move that risks irritating the major media movers and shakers who will ultimately guide conventional wisdom-setting in his presidency?"

NO ! Sounds as if you are already setting him up for the fall.
This is precisely the problem...letting the "news and media outlets" GUIDE or letting reporters form YOUR opinion for you. We all know press doesn't do its research.

Who cares if the "press" gets mad.
Even if you are mad, or feel slighted, it is your duty and responsibility to be truthful and fair. Which it sounds like you are NOT.

Some ego BIG MEDIA OUTLETS. Take a chill pill.


Posted by: TheBabeNemo | March 26, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

As PDiddy noted, if the major newspapers can't ask a responsible question in a prime time press conference, why take up time with their questions? Case in point, 9 Feb, East Room of the White House, millions of viewers, economy is in a shambles, many major issues to be addressed, OK, now the turn of the Washington POST reporter to ask the newly elected President a question:

Michael Fletcher, The Washington Post.

"Yes, thank you, sir. What is your reaction to Alex Rodriguez's admission that he used steroids as a member of the Texas Rangers?"

Definitely need a new pecking order after that!

Posted by: Mike113 | March 26, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

No matter whom in the media he calls upon, President Obama's frankness and intelligence is a refreshing change from the "shoot the messenger" policies of past administrations, especially the last one. Except for matters of extreme national security, what is needed most in government, science, finance, even religion; is more TRANSPARENCY. We are a republic, not an absolute monarchy. There was a piece of paper ascribing to that fact signed in Philadelphia back in the 18th century.

Posted by: TESimonton | March 26, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I think you media people are confused. It is his press conference, not yours. He is the president, not you. This is about him, not you. He can call on whoever he chooses, it is his party, not yours. You sound like those people on Charlie Rose the night before last, as if he had dissed them on purpose. Even the lovely Gwen Ifill was upset. You don't get it, this is about him, not you.

Posted by: paulasmg | March 26, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh Boo-Hoo...I feel for the media folks who were snubbed....who for years were nothing more than the mouth-piece of a totally corrupt administration.

Change has come to Washington...and it's a refreshing one...and one that many won't appreciate.

The main-stream media is out of touch and has been for years.

We heard some good and reasonable questions from the newly included media outlets...along with the typical non-sense from the establishment...including the idiot Ed Henry.

Posted by: constwkr | March 26, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I guess the constellation of lefty-liberal 'mainstream media' outlets just got a few more stars.

Posted by: DonJasper | March 26, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

INNOCENT BUT TARGETED.

"Google" it.

YOU could be next.

And if you are a journalist, that goes a thousand-fold.

Team Obama will be neutralized unless it takes down the Bush-Cheney legacy "extrajudicial punishment network."

Now, not later. There may not be another chance.


http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 26, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I think it is wonderful that President Obama is using a non traditional approach in who he selects to ask questions at the press conferences. For a long time, the bigger news outlets have been given preference/privilege, and while their voice is important, it is not the only voice that has an opinion. I think that President Obama has sent a clear message that all voices are important, different perspectives are valued, and that everyone is welcome at the table.

Posted by: smolock1 | March 26, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I recently attended a 'talk' by Madeline Drohan, the Ottawa correspondent for the Economist. Her main contention was that while the media didnot cause the current recession, quote-"irresponsible and inaccurate coverage is making a bad situation worse"end quote. She included herself in this critique with her main complaints being alarmist headlines,repeated references to the Great Depression, and the overuse of superlatives.
Also, an unrealistic view of what passes for conventional wisdom anymore keeps some journalists lost in the gotcha- question mode, eg: Ed Henry's inane questions at the WH presser. I have often complained that your FIX blog belongs on the op-ed page, not on the front page like when you put the RNC ad about GOP lambasts Obama over AIG Bonuses. Did you read the comments of that one? Basically they were "This is news?" "Yawn." "Who cares what the GOP thinks when they don't offer...", etc. People see you as a GOP shill instead of a journalist because of propaganda like that. Scott Wilson was another WaPo writer who got ripped a new one over his inane article with the inflamatory headline something like "AIG Bonus Blowback puts Obama's political agenda in peril" when all the polls showed otherwise. Gossip and inuendo is not journalism, neither is so-called conventional wisdom. Did you all think that Obama bringing change to DC meant just the Politics? Gee, another example of conventional wisdom being wrong.

Posted by: katem1 | March 26, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It seems that Obama is trying to do everything he can to encourage people to receive and interpret information themselves rather than having the mega-media outlets tell us what he really said or meant. He is sending a message to the giants that he is not going to bow down to them and their sniping. Since he was inaugurated most major media outlets, including WAPO, have spent much time outlining what is wrong with his policies. The public does not seem to see it the same way given his approval ratings which are still above 60 percent according to Gallup despite a couple of months of relentless criticism. It is interesting that mega-media gave Bush a free ride despite the fact that he did very little to provide information to them-see Scott McClellan's book for further information. Obama has been more open with the result that he gets mostly criticism from media types who are not subject matter experts. Also, every Republican who has a criticism is given a platform to throw bombs at the administration without any analysis of what they said. Obama is smart to go directly to the people!

Posted by: cdierd1944 | March 26, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I think it's clearly a sign of the times...newspapers are on their way out. As a former reporter, editor and columnist it breaks my heart; but change is natural and was inevitable the day use of the Internet became mainstream.
http://bernays-sauce.blogspot.com/2009/03/more-layoffs-announced-at-kansas-city.html

Posted by: soonerthought | March 26, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the laughs, chrissie. nothing's more entertaining during these dismal days than watching the village magpies get their panties in a twist ...

kinda reminds me of a certain bunny-killing movie character ... 'I WILL NOT IGNOOOOOOOOORED.....'

Posted by: mycomment | March 26, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Seemed more than coincidental that Peter Baker's and Adam Nagourney's analysis the following morning in the NY Times (after their paper was not called upon) had such a snarky opening: "Obama the lecturer...the professor in chief, offering familiar arguments in long paragraphs...sounding like the teacher speaking in the stillness of a classroom where students are restlessly waiting for the ring of the bell..."

Posted by: NYC11 | March 26, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Chris: I think it's a great idea. And contrary to what Calderone says, it's not a shot at the "already insecure newspaper industry," of which I am a part. Stars & Stripes and Ebony are both print publications.

Obama is simply demonstrating that other national media outlets and their audiences, besides the usual ones, matter. I think he's right.

Posted by: mypitts2 | March 26, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I think it is very important to call on other media outlets, particularly ones that represent demographics which the traditional media outlets do not or can not represent. I knew this press conference was going to be different when the President called on Univision. Univision, Ebony, and Star and Stripes have readerships and viewers that usually do not read the Post, the New York Times, or perhaps for that matter even the Washington Times. They do represent, however, demographics that often feel isolated from their government. President Obama's outreach to them is very important.

Posted by: jameshauser | March 26, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Given the failure of The Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the rest of the MSM to behave like real journalist during the Bush years I say, good for Obama. The "liberal media" acted like lap dogs to the Worst President Ever. Maybe they need to sit down and shut up and let some one else ask hard question.

Whaa! Whaa! The president didn't call on me. Too bad. You should have done your jobs and we wouldn't be in the mess we're in. Where was the daily, number of days Osama bin Ladin is still loose plaque on CNN like they did with Jimmy Carter and the Iran Hostages? Liberal Press? Bah!

Posted by: thebobbob | March 26, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

There has been too much power alloted to the larger news sources.

It is refresing that Obama called on some smaller news sources. After all, many of them supported him when the larger sources ignored him or said he could NOT win.

I am delighted he remembers those of us who wanted him for president since 2004.

His loyalty to us and ours to him will help encourage him from the 'blue dogs' and the 'ditto Rushbaughs.'

NOW, I know he can be trusted to remember who 'brung him to the dance.' LOL

Posted by: wilkestraphill | March 26, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"The biggest story coming out of President Obama's prime-time press conference earlier this week wasn't his defense of his economic plans or his plea for patience from the American public.

It was the reporters he called on and, as importantly, those he didn't."
-------------------------------------
This statement sums up the problem with the media. The media is self-aggrandizing. Of all the questions asked and statements the President made, the "biggest story" is that he didn't call on newspapers to ask a question? Really? Apparently, the media does not see the problem with that.

Furthermore, what's with the insecurity? Obama didn't call you for the news conference? Who cares?! It's not the end of newspapers. What will end newspapers is that they foolishly and egotistically focus on the fact that they didn't get call on during a press conference, instead of focusing on the issues that truly matter to the American people.

Posted by: associate20 | March 26, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Obama called on lesser known media outlets was not only a way of kissing the back side of small demographic groups but also a way to look like he's nice to the little guy.

Though it may help him, it may not help the American people because the questions asked may end up being less relevant to the broader public.

-Maybe he wanted to answer questions about the problems and policies at hand and leave baseball questions to ESPN.

Seriously the MSM needs to get on the ball and ask some serious questions instead of trying to be the print version of E!.

Posted by: theobserver4 | March 26, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I am a strong supporter of daily newspapers, and I think that the "MSM" (mainstream media) generally get an improperly bad rap. The Washington Post and New York Times are essential elements of a well-informed public. Having said that, I agree with President Obama expanding the universe of reporters allowed to ask questions at press conferences. It is a good thing for small media outlets, online papers, off-beat tv networks, and even bloggers to have their opportunity to interrogate the president as well. I would certainly hope that the NYT and Post will not be permanently relegated to second-tier status at the press conferences, or that the conferences be taken over entirely by Daily Kos, MTV and the Comedy Channel, but I doubt that that is what Obama has in mind. Balance, along with a broader range of questioners, are long overdue.

Posted by: WahooRicky | March 26, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

There are times when you know something is broken and you aren't positive what the fix is. So you simply change something because you know the status quo is broken. Considering the effectiveness of the traditional pecking order over the last 8-16 years, I think this is one of those times. Rather than sticking out their boo-boo lips, perhaps the Washington Post, the NY Times and the WSJ can go dig up real news instead of being court stenographers.

Posted by: caribis | March 26, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"risk irritating the major media movers and shakers who will ultimately guide conventional wisdom-setting in his presidency" --- trust only their voice - wasn't that what we were doing in trusting AIG & all of the other big players who were too big to fail. I think it's a good move to hear from smaller voices from time to time; the way Obama is doing it. I may not be a big thinker but I do have big concerns right now & it helps to hear from beyond conventional wisdom.

Posted by: maribethevans | March 26, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

He may be trying to do something differently, but there is one aspect of this that is no different. He lies through his teeth...about most everything.
Today I heard a blurb from this latest show in which he said that we're short electricians so we can't wire in homes with energy smart meters.
I believe that's a crock. Many utilities are already doing it, and if we're short electricians, after the years of the housing boom, then they've all gone to Canada.
This slug makes bill Clinton look totally honest.

Posted by: LarryG62 | March 26, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Obama called on lesser known media outlets was not only a way of kissing the back side of small demographic groups but also a way to look like he's nice to the little guy.

Though it may help him, it may not help the American people because the questions asked may end up being less relevant to the broader public.

Having said that, the fact that this is "big...news?" answers a more important question: do media consumers or the media itself have more say over what the media cries about? Obviously and not surprisingly, this shows that the media itself controls what's talked about. This is yet another issue that only journalists give a crap about and really doesn't matter in the real world, but we're being forced to hear about it because the Wal-Marts of the media are so d**n angry that they didn't get picked. Oh no! The fact that this has been talked about more than once, and for more than one day, shows you media guys are just so cocky and feel like you're special and owed better. Nobody cares, so stop the whiney form of self-promoting garbage and do your jobs rather than trying to keep them by complaining that nobody called on you. GET OVER IT!

Posted by: jsperez | March 26, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

HI Chris
For most of us the biggest news out of the news conference was NOT that he didn't call on the major newspapers. It's really surprising that you feel that it is.
Perhaps the majors were upset because they are losing readership and he did manage to call on NBC/MSNBC, CNN and other major networks which is where most of the politically engaged public is turning for their news.
Many of us are delighted to have the African American and Latino news outlets have their opportunity. It also seems unconscionable that former presidents have not called on the Stars and Stripes representatives when so much is at stake for our men and women in uniform.
Kudos to President Obama for expanding the availability of the President's office to so many more Americans.
By the way, my husband and I read the NY Times, LA Times, the local paper and Washington Post (online) every day so it's not that we think they are disposable just that they are not the only game in town!

Posted by: JECA1 | March 26, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Can't help but imagine the White House will put together more of these chats. Maybe move them to primetime and really go over the heads of the MSM.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | March 26, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to know what Obama's teleprompter thinks about this.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 26, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"JINOS" IN THE BRIEFING ROOM?

POTUS and Robert Gibbs must be amazed each day as the mainstream media persists in asking the same question sixteen different ways, expecting a different answer.

The premier investigative reporter of our time, Seymour Hersh, claims that former VP Cheney ran an "executive assassination squad" out of the White House...

...and that the CIA and the military have been involved in domestic "ops" against American citizens...

...and not ONE question from the WH sheep herd.

Perhaps Team Obama's new pecking order is intended to send this message:

The people deserve to hear us answer the tough questions that the mainstream media -- due to conditioning or perhaps due to their own laziness -- refuse to ask.


***


SPECIAL TO RAHM EMANUEL, DAVID AXELROD (WH); ATTY. GEN. ERIC HOLDER; ALL CABINET MEMBERS

'EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK.'

"Google" it.

Will it claim among its often unknowing victims the good intentions of Team Obama?

No national crisis can be solved so long as covertly engineered injustice and tyranny subvert human and civil rights and the rule of law in America.


http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 26, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the WashPo got a chance at the last presser and asked a completely inane and idiotic question.

Posted by: PDiddy | March 26, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gorbachev.... tear down this wall!

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | March 26, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

What a seriously silly question. The only people who care that the WashPo et al were omitted from the presser are the WashPo et al. The rest of us are happy to see the military press, African American press, and Hispanic press given the opportunity to question our government and President. I'm hoping POTUS expands it even further and calls on journalists who represent even more constituencies, including the LGBT community, Christian community, Muslim community, and so on.

Posted by: PDiddy | March 26, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I don't accept that "the major media movers and shakers who will ultimately guide conventional wisdom-setting in his presidency..." are necessarily print newspaper columns such as The Fix. Careful, Fix, you're sounding a bit grandiose.

Posted by: LeftCoastOracle | March 26, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

IndyJeff2020
"Here is what will happen without pecking order...the reporters with the softball questions will get picked."

Perhaps it has been the softball questions that have established the pecking order. Also, to counteract your concerns, an enterprising journalist would ask a couple softballs to establish a position in the rotation - then whip a fastball in there.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 26, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Changing the mix of who gets called on in press conferences is a good thing. The major news outlets aren't being short-changed -- they are still in the room and they still have access to the President, his cabinet members and their staffs at other times.

Posted by: pam_leitterman | March 26, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a healthy trend but wish he had dumped a broadcast network or two for a print newspaper or two given the condition of print media in this country today. We all need to support print media (read newspapers) if we want it to survive.

Posted by: LeftCoastOracle | March 26, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I think it is a good thing. In fact, I wish the White House would let the public screen/vote on the questions for the press, at least some of the time. The old system imposes not just a media filter, but a very restrictive funnel as well.

Posted by: umprof | March 26, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

As elitist as it sounds, there NEEDS to be a pecking order.

Here is what will happen without pecking order...the reporters with the softball questions will get picked. Now the President will be able to hide behind the "just giving everyone a fair shake" excuse.

It may not have happened the other night, it may not happen next time, but it will happen.

Posted by: IndyJeff2020 | March 26, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree w/bsimon1. Besides, it's about time that the "little" media gets a chance. Obama was elected by a wide cross section of Americans and this should be reflected in the Q&A press conferences.

Posted by: ej56 | March 26, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Seems like fairness to me--working against the "power accrues more power" current. I'm happy to see an administration that recognizes and responds to that problem. I believe Obama has got it right: people don't really believe spin and PR; they recognize and appreciate real communication. This approach will help to cure cynicism, passivity, and hopelessness by helping viewers/readers to believe they can be heard.

Posted by: sjohnston1 | March 26, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The Fix asks
"Is Obama's decision to bypass some of the traditional media outlets a smart one that better serves the goals of his administration and the American people? Or is it a short-sighted move that risks irritating the major media movers and shakers who will ultimately guide conventional wisdom-setting in his presidency?"


Are the self-proclaimed major media movers and shakers that self-absorbed that they would retaliate by punishing a President that chose to change the arbitrary rules by which press conferences are held?

Or is the very nature of the question indicative of just how out of touch the major media are, in that they don't yet realize quite how much their impact on public discourse is shrinking?


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | March 26, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

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