Bill O'Reilly was certainly pleased with the announcement that Fox News has won a coveted seat position in the White House briefing room.

On Monday's "O'Reilly Factor," the host told guests James Rosen of FNC and Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times that he "might be able to sneak down in there" and "sit in the front row." 

O'Reilly continued with a devilish grin on his face, "Believe me when I tell you that I will be there sometime down the line, and Glenn Beck might be there, Hannity might be there" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary): 



Jon Ward of the Daily Caller, until recently a White House reporter for the Washington Times, wrote a piece for Sunday's Washington Post titled “Why we'll miss Helen Thomas.” But Ward also interviewed some White House press colleagues who suggested Thomas had ventured across a line into explicit advocacy and argument:

"Helen had always been a tough, no-nonsense interrogator of presidents and press secretaries," said Ann Compton, who has reported on the past six presidents for ABC News. "About a decade ago, when she shed her role as reporter and began a career at Hearst as an opinion columnist, Helen's questions began to cross the line into advocacy."

Ward wrote that as “zany and obvious” her advocacy had become, he wondered if other reporters couldn't learn something about being a little bit tougher on press secretary Robert Gibbs. Fox reporter Major Garrett admitted to Ward “that until the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico became a major story, the White House press corps (himself included) had often failed to adequately hold Gibbs's feet to the fire.” He explained:



This might upset some of the Fox News-ophobes within DC media circles, the so-called purists that tend to look down on the highly rated cable news outlet.

As Fox News is purportedly competing with Bloomberg for that front-row seat once occupied by the former dean of the White House press corps and Hearst Newspaper columnist Helen Thomas, Chris Wallace, the host of "Fox News Sunday," suggested there would be some sort of righteousness in his network taking that seat.

"They absolutely should get it," Wallace said on the June 10 broadcast of the Fox Business Network's "Imus in the Morning." "This is kind of interesting because -- and I think it would be the final sort of back payment for Helen Thomas, if this were to happen because obviously she was very far to the left-wing and if her seat were to be taken by Fox News, that would just be kind of poetic justice."



"Special Report" host Bret Baier thinks Tuesday's election results changed the White House's view of the Fox News Channel.

He further believes that Obama senior adviser David Axelrod's interview with Fox's Major Garrett Wednesday was a sign "they’re gonna start playing ball on the news side."

During his Thursday chat with WOR radio's Steve Malzberg, Baier also agreed that Fox's ratings domination on election night had to be an eye opener for the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (15-minute audio available here, relevant section at 8:50):



Just how bad for Obama were Tuesday's election results?

So bad White House senior adviser David Axelrod went on Fox News Wednesday to try and spin it?

In case you've forgotten, this is about two weeks after Axelrod told ABC's George Stephanopoulos, "[T]hey're not really a news station."

I guess that's changed now that the Republicans have come back to life (video of Major Garrett's unedited interview with Axelrod embedded below the fold, part of it was aired on Wednesday's "Special Report"):



Network reporters swooned over President Barack Obama hugging a woman, who has cancer and lacks insurance, at his Wednesday “town hall” on health care, as both CNN -- where Suzanne Malveaux heralded the hug as “a bold display of presidential concern” -- and NBC failed to point out how all the questions (just seven in total) were pre-selected or from members of pro-Obama groups. Instead, NBC's Savannah Guthrie showed a kid in a video (“My mommy and daddy have small businesses, and we need health care”) before she touted how Obama “solicited questions on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and in person, with a hug for a woman who says she cannot pay her medical bills,” while CNN's Ed Henry related “he fielded questions from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and a live audience.”

CBS's Katie Couric showcased “an emotional moment” when “a 53-year-old cancer patient described her battle to get treatment she can afford.” Couric relayed how Obama “called her exhibit A in a system that's too expensive and too complicated,” but at least, unlike NBC and CNN, Couric noted the woman “is a volunteer for Mr. Obama's political operation Organizing for America” and “the White House invited her to attend.”

Filling-in as anchor on CNN's The Situation Room, Suzanne Malveaux painted Obama as a combination of General Patton and Oprah as she set up Henry in the 6 PM EDT hour:

President Obama has a message for some critics. He will get his way. Today he made a bold promise regarding health care reform. And, in a bold display of presidential concern, the President comforted a sick and emotional woman.


Waiting for the press conference to start. I may also tweet some over at Twitter.

I'll be particularly looking for any questions on Wall Street's reaction to Geithner's plan (382-point drop, market stagnant today) and how Gibbs would respond to it. Should be fun.

I'm watching via Fox News.

14:15: We're 15 minutes late. Par for the course with Gibbs.

14:16: Chris Cillizza of Washington Post tweeting @TheHyperFix: Is this like a concert? If we all start clapping, will Gibbs come out?

14:18, Fox was at commercial break when Gibbs came out, switched to CNN. Sneaky, Mr. Gibbs.

14:19, Jennifer Loven of AP asking if Geithner didn't realize how bad the market reaction would be yesterday

Gibbs says the plan wasn't designed for one-day market reax.



Live-blogging the press briefing. Was scheduled to start at 2:30, it's now 2:38.

Watching on Fox News Channel. May also through up some Tweets @KenShepherd

The archive of official White House press briefings can be found here.

14:45: Still waiting for Gibbs to come out. Fox News has gone to split-screen.

14:52, Gibbs finally underway.



Once again I'm going to live-blog the daily press briefing. I'll be focused on the reporters' questions, not so much Gibbs's answers. I also caution this is a rough transcript and may contain errors. I hope to render as accurate a depiction as possible of the questions asked and who's asking them.

As a little twist, I'll also try Twittering some comments on my Twitter page, @KenShepherd.

The presser was scheduled for 3:45 p.m. ET, but is late getting off the ground. Gibbs entering room at 3:53 p.m. ET



Update/Closing thoughts (14:34):  Hearst columnist Helen Thomas continues to make a cartoon of herself in her using her perch to parrot ultra-left-wing talking points. Her question today was on why President Obama wants to send troops into Afghanistan to "kill more people."Without doubt it was the loopiest left-wing question posed today. Oddly enough, given her history of bias, one of the best queries today came from April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, who questioned the wisdom of pegging hopes of economic recovery on so-called "green jobs."



Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs is conducting his second-ever press conference right now. Below you'll find my live-blogging of the questions. I can't promise verbatim rendering of the questions, but should the Obama administration post a full transcript later on, I'll link to that as well. [see related post]

I'm watching the video via MSNBC.



As Culture and Media Institute Director Robert Knight has noted, the media are still presenting Obama campaign spin on the McCain sex ed ad as hard facts.

Last week the McCain campaign released an ad charging Senator Obama with supporting sex education for kindergarten children when he was an Illinois state senator. 

According to the Obama campaign and the media the legislation in question "was written to protect young children from sexual predators." 

That's a line that Obama himself used during last year's CNN/YouTube debate:

I've got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter.  And I want them to know if somebody is doing something wrong to them, encroaching on their privacy, that they should come talk to me or my wife.  And we've had that conversation, but not every parent is going to have that conversation with their child, and I think it's important that every child does, to make sure that they're not subject to the sexual predators (emphasis mine).

The only problem is that the goal of the bill wasn't to stop sexual predators, but to revamp the Illinois sex ed curriculum.