The White House press corps today formally protested a White House decision to bar reporters from an event featuring President Obama and the surviving members of the Apollo 11 moon mission, a gathering that would have naturally lent itself to wide coverage.
Obama met with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to mark the 45th anniversary of the mission. Neil Armstrong died in 2012.
The protest was lodged by Major Garrett of CBS, who is an officer of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the problem was that Obama “has a very busy schedule.”
Really? A busy schedule? This president?
ABC White House reporter Jonathan Karl smelled a rat.
“Couldn’t he have been maybe five minutes later for the fundraiser out in Seattle?” Karl wondered, referring to Obama’s trip out West today. “I find that explanation a little hard to believe.”
By which he meant it was a lot hard to believe. The press corps gets shoveled in and out of these events and it takes no more than a few minutes.
Earnest disingenuously threw in a jibe – right out of the Jay Carney playbook – about the press corps complaining it didn’t get enough time during such events, known as “pool sprays.” Karl responded that the complaints centered on getting “a couple of minutes” instead of a few seconds to see the president.
Karl posited another explanation:
“Is it because some of those Apollo astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, shortly before he died, going to Congress – was very critical of this president for the way he has handled the space program?”
Earnest was appalled. “Absolutely not!” he said.