The group Moveon.org is trying to get people to send the White House Correspondents’ Association votes on who should get the seat vacated by Helen Thomas in the White House press room. You can read about it here (click).
Essentially, they’re worried that the seat could go to Fox News, which is well-known for the right wing slant to its news and the hard right stance of its commentators.
My take: So what? The White House Press Corps is as useless as tits on a boar, as we like to say out here in flyover country.
Here’s the response I sent to Kat Somebody at Moveon.org, whose name is on the email going around:
Thanks Kat, but I would, in this instance, urge moveon.org to move on to something more meaningful to advocate.
Symbolism is fine, but the White House Press Corps has been a useless pile of dictation machines since the 70s — The reporters in that pool allow themselves to be controlled by the White House’s press manipulators out of fear that their questions won’t be answered at some future date, or that they won’t be called on, if they are too pushy. Even if they are pushy, the White House Press Spokespeople are hired specifically for their ability to not answer any question.
It is no coincidence that the Watergate Scandal was not uncovered by the White House Press Corps.
Want to see them at their finest? Watch a tape of the press conference that George Bush held on TV just before the Iraq War started — with a war looming, the fate of the nation and a world-changing action at hand, those guys were afraid to say boo and tossed softball after softball, not a single hard question in the bunch. My favorite? “Do you pray,” by some religious reporter.
So, the symbolism of who sits in front is fun to ponder, but don’t give it any weight. No matter who is in the Oval Office, the press room in the White House is one of the most controlled public relations outlets in the nation, and there are damn few there who fight back. Fox may fight even less than the others, but less than very little isn’t much of a difference.
Columnist at the Ogden Utah daily newspaper, The Standard-Examiner
35 year news reporter.