John Roberts, the CBS News correspondent, gives grudging respect to the White House for message management, if not the Supreme Court nominee who shares his name, in a web posting to CBSNews.com today.
We are so determined to crack the nut of this uber-disciplined White
House that any dribble of information is lapped up like mother's milk.
And, I must admit, we created a media echo chamber yesterday.
Eventually, we began to hear back rumors that were prompted by our own
inquiries. I'm certain that there was no end of glee at the White House
as officials watched us chase our tails all day. And I'll bet they
chuckled to themselves as they let their telephones ring and ring as
their caller IDs flashed up the numbers of White House reporters.
As a correspondent, it was one of the most frustrating days of my
life. A lot of my fellow White House denizens share the same
sentiments. My BlackBerry was buzzing all day with messages from
colleagues – "I HATE this" and "Just SHOOT me now" were two of the more
popular expressions of exasperation.
It wouldn't be so bad to take our lumps and move on, except that
we're all aware that at some point, Chief Justice William Rehnquist WILL retire, leaving us to do it all again.
So, score another one for a White House that displays a remarkable
ability to control leaks. And send us back to the dog pound of the
Briefing Room to await the next opportunity.