Good Dogs!  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Letters
From AJR,   June 2003

Good Dogs!   

By Unknown

The White House press corps' performance at the president's prime time news conference in March was the most pathetic example of journalism I've ever seen. The reporters didn't ask the president any questions about the economy, rising gasoline prices, or even his proposed Medicare reform plan. In fact, they didn't ask him any questions about domestic policy at all. Instead, all of their questions were about the looming war with Iraq.

I understand the order of the questioners was predetermined. I have also heard that the questions themselves had to be submitted in advance. Reporters should never have agreed to such nonsense. If the White House insisted on that as a precondition to holding the press conference, media outlets should have refused.

By submitting to such ridiculous rules, the White House press corps allowed the president to control the agenda, and to control the message. That's not journalism, that's lapdogism.

President Bush's press conferences are extremely rare. The reporters missed a golden opportunity to place the president under greater public scrutiny.

Kenny Goldberg
Health reporter
San Diego, California