Even the Bush-bashing New York Times can tell you today: there's no room for conspiracy theories about the White House sending reporters across the park for press briefings for a few months while they renovate and update the briefing room. Everyone in the press corps knows this room is a pit, with rotten, broken theater seats and drafty conditions that ruin your mood in hot weather and cold -- but especially hot, since you're already got on a big press day a pile of TV lights and 50 reporters squeezed in like sardines.
Nearly everyone has the same reaction upon seeing the room for the first time: This is it? This run-down shack? (I certainly did when I arrived in 2001.) But no one actually works in the briefing room most of the time. The big-time 24-7 wire and network reporters work in tiny cubicles behind the briefing room, and some more are down the stairs (in my tenure, that was for Fox News, Salem, and Bloomberg, among others.) If you work for a daily or weekly print publication, you don't work inside the gates.
So when the room is only in use for an hour or so a day, you can see how someone might put off the renovating -- and the risk of looking anti-press corps probably helped. But it's high time for a new look. We have a request for Tony Snow when the new video-bank look comes in -- could we inaugurate it with Olbermann-style "Worst Reporter In the World!" jokes?