Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reporter is Taken by President Bush's 'Charm' and Gushes About Memories he will 'Cherish'

Just in case you needed more evidence that the White House Press Corps often sympathizes with Washington insiders instead raising critical questions, I give you John Gizzi's take on President Bush's final press conference. Gizzi is the Political Editor of HumanEvents.com and has covered many a Presidential press conference over the last eight years. Gizzi writes:

In his final meeting with the press, President Bush was perfectly charming. To some of those with whom he has had a frosty relationship, Mr. Bush said, “I always respected you,” adding that those who covered him “do the best they possibly can,” and -- in a slight backhand -- noted that at times, the reporters “mis-underestimated me.”

Oh, the good times that the Press Corps has had over the years! From the President's non-answers, embarrassing missteps, and goofy catch-phrases...hasn't this all been a blast? Gizzi continues:

Whether he was joshing with April Ryan of Urban Radio (“April, you were sound asleep back there”) or telling Suzanne Malveaux of CNN he had learned to pronounce her name right after eight years (“Su-zonnnn”), the President obviously enjoyed his “last hurrah” with those who had covered him and often sparred with him.

Bush enjoyed this last press conference so much, that he decided to snub veteran journalist Helen Thomas (as some bloggers have pointed out). So much for respecting those who he has sparred with. Gizzi concludes:

For all the last-minute notices of press conferences, the jostling for a seat, and that it was very often to difficult to get news-making information from President Bush, I found it a pleasure to be part of “the arena” that is the Brady Briefing Room. His sense of humor, occasional weaving and bobbing on the podium, and the give-and-take with reporters are memories I will cherish. I’m not sure what the new President and his press secretary will be like, but if there is in any way a continuing of the dog-and-pony show that the Bush White House had under four different spokesmen, I’m looking forward to it.

Not only is Gizzi gushing with memories he will cherish about these press conferences, but he is hoping that Obama's conferences will be a similar "dog-and-pony show". I, for one, am a fan of critical reporting no matter the President and quite frankly couldn't care less whether reporters like Gizzi have been charmed by the antics of the President. Tough questions and independence is something that society must demand from journalists, especially now when there are so many important issues that are coming to a head. The very fact that reporters like Gizzi are gushing about the President's charm and about "memories" they will "cherish" is a pretty good example of what is wrong with some of the coverage that is coming out of Washington.

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