Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama Avoids Leading Newspapers at Press Conference

In keeping with his overall news management strategy, President Barack Obama avoided taking questions last night from the traditional major newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times at his second news conference of his term. It's clearly an effort to control the message, not answer the questions.

Not that the 13 journalists who did have an opportunity to ask a question come from unknown organizations. But there is a clear pattern to skip over "the elite" media in favor of others in order to try to control the message. He did hit the Associated Press, the three major networks, CNN and FOX.

And no, there was no question from Helen Thomas this time around.

In order, here is the list of people he called on:

Jennifer Loven of The Associated Press, Chuck Todd of NBC, Jake Tapper of ABC, Chip Reid of CBS, Lourdes Meluza of Univision, Kevin Baron of Stars and Stripes, Ed Henry of CNN, Major Garrett of FOX News, Mike Allen of POLITICO, Kevin Chappell of Ebony, Ann Compton of ABC Radio), Jon Ward of the Washington Times and Stephen Collinson of Agence France-Presse.

Obama told reporters that he expects the American public to strongly support his efforts for unprecedented regulatory authority over financial institutions that are not banks. He also said Americans "cannot afford to demonize every investor who seeks to make a profit." The natural follow-up question would have been: Is there any other kind of investor other than one who seeks a profit?

He is currently asking for broad new powers to regulate nonbank entities such as troubled insurer American International Group. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified Tuesday about the plan.

Obama said his reasoning is that the absence of such authority contributed to AIG's current difficulties. He compared such oversight to the federal government's regulation of the banks.

He also suggested he could agree to a short-term compromise concerning a middle-class tax cut and a carbon-emissions cap.

Here is part one of the text of the press conference, here is part two, and here is part three.

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