CNN Reporter Claims W.H. Press Secretary 'Crossed a Line'

The Washington Post has an article about the deteriorating relationship between White House press secretary Scott McClellan and the reporters who cover the White House.

CBS correspondent John Roberts says McClellan "has adopted this siege mentality in which the best way to deflect the question is to attack the questioner. I'm not quite sure who he's playing to -- maybe the segment of the Republican Party that believes we're a bunch of liberals who have our own agenda."

McClellan claimed he was trying to "mix it up a little bit and keep them on their toes. Reporters like to swing away at others, but they don't like it when you punch back. The pack mentality goes into overdrive... The media's trying to get under our skin and get us off-message. My job is to help the president advance his agenda."

CNN correspondent Bob Franken said that "many of us thought Scott had crossed a line by characterizing the motives of the reporters... We are foils, because we're riffraff in the eyes of the public, the ink-stained wretches."

NBC correspondent David Gregory, who has had some notable flare-ups with the press secretary of late, had the same complaint.

"There's been an attempt to put reporters on the spot and question the motivation of reporters.... It is irritating, and I for one think it's an attempt by the White House to change the focus from what is a legitimate question to what the talking point is. It's an effort to cast the media as out for red meat."

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