Dana Milbank: Obama completely froze out the press at his nuke summit
posted at 7:38 pm on April 13, 2010 by Allahpundit
I don’t know what’s more pathetic, The One locking his fan club out of a two-day photo op or his fan club complaining that the two-day photo op really did end up being a photo op. Love can be a confusing thing, my friends.
It was a pretty sweet photo op, though.
In the middle of it all was Obama — occupant of an office once informally known as “leader of the free world” — putting on a clinic for some of the world’s greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press.
The only part of the summit, other than a post-meeting news conference, that was visible to the public was Obama’s eight-minute opening statement, which ended with the words: “I’m going to ask that we take a few moments to allow the press to exit before our first session.”
Reporters for foreign outlets, many operating in repressive countries, got the impression that the vaunted American freedoms are not all they’re cracked up to be…
Reporters, even those on the White House beat for two decades, said it was the most restrictive set of meetings they had ever seen in Washington. They complained to both the administration and White House Correspondents’ Association, which will discuss the matter Thursday with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.
The restrictions have become a common practice for the Obama White House. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to the White House a couple of weeks ago, reporters were kept away. Soon after that, Obama signed an executive order on abortion, again without any coverage.
“Obama’s official schedule for Tuesday would have pleased China’s Central Committee,” writes Milbank, perhaps exaggerating. Supposedly this was the biggest gathering of foreign leaders hosted by an American president since World War II. If they were only here for two days and they were serious about getting something done — and they did get a little something done, if you include the stuff we already knew about — then why not dispense with the spinfest of the ten-minute Q&A with Obama and each world leader and get down to business? For instance, The One did hold a presser late this afternoon and was asked by Tapper whether China is finally onboard with Iran sanctions. The reply: “Here’s what I know. The Chinese have sent official representatives to negotiations in New York, to begin the process of drafting a sanctions resolution.” Does that mean they’ve committed to sanctions and are simply tinkering with language or are they prepared to walk away if they don’t get to dictate terms? Who knows? Imagine wasting hours on end over the last two days tossing out answers like that.