Remember how upset the left-wing blogosophere got when they “exposed” then-White House correspondent Jeff Gannon as a “shill” for a conservative website/news agency?Â They were upset because this supposedly closeted gay man was excessively deferential when asking questions during White House press briefings.
They just didn’t like he like he tossed softballs at the president. As if no reporters were asking tough questions of the president and his team.
As ferociously as we [the press] march like villagers with torches against Blagojevich, we have been, in the true spirit of the Bizarro universe, the polar opposite with the president-elect. Deferential, eager to please, prepared to keep a careful distance.
The Obama news conferences tell that story, making one yearn for the return of the always-irritating Sam Donaldson to awaken the slumbering press to the notion that decorum isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
The press corps, most of us, don’t even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who’ve been advised they will be called upon that day.
We reporters have earned our own membership in the Bizarro universe.
Who are we, after all? The ones rapid-firing at Rod Blagojevich with tough questions until we drive him from the room? Or the Miss Manners crowd, silent until called upon, quietly accepting that only a handful of questions will be taken at a time?
Deferential, eager to please? Doesn’t that sound like the criticism left-wing bloggers leveled against Gannon’s tenure on the White House presss corps? And he was just one among many. Now, they all seem to be deferential and eager to please. And it’s primarily the conservative (& libertarian) bloggers who take notice.
I guess deference and eagerness to please are only a problem when addressing a Republican president.Â They couldn’t tolerate just one reporter deferential to President Bush, yet remain largely silent as the entire press crops bows and scrapes to the incoming Democratic president.