As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama Abolishes the Press Conference

President Obama has held just one full length, multi-topic, solo press conference in the last six months, effectively abolishing the most accessible venue for American citizens to observe the thinking and learn the views of their leader.

It’s May, and the president has stood for only a single such news conference this year, a March 6 event in the briefing room. He’s had only three since last June, counting a November press conference in Hawaii that was supposed to be devoted to the just-held Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit but which veered off into other issues.

Nor does Obama generally allow questioning during brief appearances at the White House, such as when he makes statements with foreign leaders. Previous presidents, including George W. Bush, routinely took a couple of questions on the topic of the day at such gatherings.

Obama doing what he loves best at a press conference.

Bush also held fewer press conferences than he should have. But this doesn’t excuse Obama, who would seem especially obligated to appear before the press given his pledges to maintain an “openness” administration.

Instead, the White House does its best to control access to Obama, presenting him to local and sometimes national reporters in “one-on-one” settings.

While these sessions occasionally do make news, they are poor substitute for formal press conferences. The local reporters are often not as well versed in the subtleties of national and international news as White House reporters and are more likely to be intimidated when suddenly finding themselves sitting in the White House interviewing the president.

And whether local or national reporters, those granted one-on-one interviews often aren’t given much time to probe – particularly with Obama’s longish answers – and so are incentivized to stick to their few prepared questions and “get them in” before time runs out. And a special invitation to interview the president is such a coveted coup for any news organization that there is enormous incentive to tread lightly for fear of never being invited back again while watching your competitors be welcomed instead.

And of course, the audience for each of these sessions is limited.

Press conferences are extraordinarily important for several reasons. A number of questions are asked on different topics. The pressure of being on national TV forces the president to explain his thinking. The public gets to actually see the president think and understand how he comes to his conclusions, an invaluable public service.

What’s more, the prospect of a press conference forces the White House to think through its own views. Everybody in the West Wing, including the president, has to stop and consider just what they are doing and why. Often the agencies are mined for answers about current policies so that White House aides can prepare the president, giving the West Wing valuable feedback about what’s going on.

Of course, Obama has switched almost fully from governing to campaigning. So maybe the need for a West Wing gut check has declined, since policy is mostly being made not in Washington but in Chicago. The home, of course, of the Obama 2012 campaign.

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659 Responses to Obama Abolishes the Press Conference

  1. I continue to be surprised by the lack of old school reporting, back in the day when the President would never disrespect the media for fear of reprisal in editorials and reports.

    This president has waged war upon the media. The incident of him trying to ban a major news network from press briefings, requiring the other news networks to take a stand, to me was such a shocking statement of action by the white house it should of been headlines across america to send the message that the american people demand access and information.

    My greatest fear is that the media has gone along with it. It reaffirms the views of many that the media is bias beyond it’s ability to do it’s job. It not only sets a precedent but has been taken to such levels that when a POTUS appears that the media dislikes, and this POTUS begins to cut them out of the information loop, the cries of the media to the american people will fall of deaf ears.

    It has also fed the sentiments of the people in the nation that assumptions of corruption in Obama’s administration are justified, as the media has lost the confidence in many that they would investigate and report on such corruption. Any argument of POTUS wrong doing, can be handed a shred of validity by showing the evidence of media treatment toward the president, and the president toward the media, thus affirming in people’s minds that “if true they wouldn’t even tell you”

    A very dangerous and horrible cycle we are in.

  2. What would you do if you know that almost everyone knows you are a complete failure with all your policies? The hope and change lie has been outed for over 2+ years now. So why add to the shame by more lying on the t.v. Minimise your face time on t.v. and let your surrogates continue the lying for you on t.v.

  3. He couldn’t wait to get behind a podium a few years ago, even before he was inaugurated. Remember the “Office of the President-Elect”? We saw him every day on TV. But he knows that we know he is trying to ruin our country and has no defense when asked about his destructive policies, hence, no more press conferences. His next step, in his sick mind, is to abolish Congress(have his “Czars” take over), future elections, private gun ownership, institute Martial Law, and become, officially, a Dictator.

  4. Toto, we don’t life in Kansas anymore….America is no longer.
    This former land of the free is now the new china where people have no access to government and are told what to believe.

  5. I can completely understand Obama’s resistance to hold more press conferences. Coming up with all those lies can really tax one’s brain.

  6. Was around with Nixon, This Man is much worse. Nut he gets away with it because the Propaganda press are Marxists also.

  7. Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo in Mexico, so in order for us not to be upstaged, I decided to create a holiday for the Americans, which will occur exactly six months from today, and be called Dia de Muerte. (Day of death), signifying the death of the greatest democracy in the history of the world. Today is exactly six months until the most evil “president” we have ever had in this country is going to be reelected by his freeloading, entitlement society, Barrack Hussein Obama, our wannabe dictator, who some are already calling the “King”, is going to be reelected, and the greatest country on earth is going to under the boot of Communism for the rest of our lives.

    When Obama is reelected he will assume that he has a mandate for communism, and will proceed into it full speed ahead, destroying the country he hates,(God damn the USA of KKK), and taking away the few freedoms that we have left. Enjoy your remaining six months of freedom.

    The only solution to this disaster is for people, who still want of be free after November 6, to get out to the polling places in numbers never witnessed before, and send this wannabe dictator back to Chicago, Cuba or Kenya where he belongs.

    Freedom is ALWAYS just one generation away from extinction—Ronald Reagan

    You have the choice between freedom and the evil of Communism Nov 6. I pray to God that you will get out and vote, and choose freedom for yourself, your children and grandchildren. Do you want the government telling you everything you can say or do?

    Please email this to every one you know and hope that it goes viral.

  8. Perhaps you should have checked the UCSB.ORG before casting GWB as light on news conferences. The totals they list further your BO point but contradict your GWB assumption.
    BO-71
    GWB-210
    BC-193
    GB137
    Is UCSB.ORG a reliable source?

  9. there’s going to be more than a few w’s missing from the key boards when this guy and his tribe leave the white house, hang on it’s going to be bad.

  10. Please, no questions. Just let me give you the propaganda I want you to report. Don’t bother checking the facts because we have already done that, so just believe what we say because no dissent will be tolerated.

  11. Press conferences have been adversarial since the Rather/Nixon days. They put the Pres on the spot and result in embarrassing moments. Since they are not provided for in the constitution, there is no reason for presidents to do them.

  12. His golfing takes priority over you, you pathetic citizen. Go away and leave the king alone. Dismantling the constitution is hard work.

  13. Why should Barry hold a ‘press conference’. As he noted in the past “you all (MSM) voted for me”.

    They just print what he tells them. It’s not like they’ll ask him any probing questions.

  14. President Obama clearly does not embrace press conference’s because he does not want to be challenged in any way with difficult questions from the press. I am old to to remember when President Kennedy excelled at such press conferences. Spontaneously answering all questions with accuracy and even good humor.

  15. […] Obama ‘Abolishes’ the Press Conference: President Obama has held just one full length, multi-topic, solo press conference in the last six months, effectively abolishing the most accessible venue for American citizens to observe the thinking and learn the views of their leader. It’s May, and the president has stood for only a single such news conference this year, a March 6 event in the briefing room. He’s had only three since last June, counting a November press conference in Hawaii… […]

  16. […] But Obama continues to keep the press at a distance. Obama has granted many one-on-one interviews for major announcements, his most recent being the sit-down with Robin Roberts to discuss gay marriage. However, he has held only two news conferences in the past six months. […]

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