Talk about your government shutdown. Conservatives would have enjoyed watching liberal TV reporters sputter if President Bush had completely skipped the first row of reporters and picked only friendly reporters, even writers for conservative blog sites. But the media elites would have thrown a major tantrum about censorship -- including Jay Carney in his tenure at Time magazine.
Put the shoe on the other foot, and the liberal media is pretty quiet. President Obama failed to call on TV reporters at his Wednesday press conference, even though he came to The Huffington Post for a shoe-shine question. Then Tommy Christopher at Mediaite pointed out White House press briefer Jay Carney aggressively ignored Ed Henry of Fox News twice at Friday’s briefing, so he walked out:
At Friday afternoon’s long-delayed briefing, Carney had gone through every TV reporter when Ed Henry began to ask his question. He got out “Jay…” before Carney called on The Chicago Tribune‘s [Obama fangirl] Christi Parsons, and as she asked her question, Henry could be seen shaking his head.
Henry tried again on the next question, and when Carney ignored him again, Henry smiled, got up, and walked out. While Fox News hasn’t always gotten a question at presidential press conferences, this was the first time in memory that a Fox News reporter wasn’t called on at a daily briefing.
Henry has sparred noticeably with Carney in recent weeks. This probably wouldn’t have happened to Henry if he’d stayed at CNN!
Obama’s shutdown of TV network reporters may be related to the recent tough questions for Carney from ABC’s Jonathan Karl. (Of course, then ABC won’t show any of that.) Brit Hume told Greta van Susteren that Obama can’t seem to handle tradition: “There’s a long tradition among network correspondents that cover the White House of asking presidents of both parties challenging questions. They may sympathize with the president, but they ask challenging questions. No network correspondents were called on today.”
Sadly, I don’t think network reporters always ask challenging questions – not of Obama, and certainly not of Bill Clinton. They have more bravery with the press secretary, but once the Democratic leader’s on stage, it often goes soft.