If a “reset” button gets pressed in a media desert, does it make a noise? Maybe not, but the White House Correspondents Association certainly does:

The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) sharply criticizedMr. Obama‘s decision to sign the New START nuclear-arms pact withRussia in a private Oval Office ceremony with virtually all of the press barred from the event.

The New START deal, key to Mr. Obama‘s hopes for a “reset” of troubled relations with Moscow, was one of the administration’s big victories in the closing days of December’s lame-duck session ofCongress and the first major treaty ratified by the Senate since Mr. Obama took office. …

The WHCA immediately blasted the move in a pointed letter to press secretary Robert Gibbs, pointing out that the “STARTtreaty was held up as one of the president’s most important foreign-policy priorities for almost a year.”

The WHCA also hit Mr. Obama‘s press operation for failing to provide journalists with a “substantive update” as events in Egypt unfolded Tuesday prior to Mr. Obama‘s evening remarks.

Wasn’t the treaty supposed to be one of Barack Obama’s big lame-duck-session victories?  Wasn’t its passage part of the media’s “momentum” meme that signaled a big comeback for Obama in the second half of his term?  Why, then, did Obama refuse to have video cameras present for the event?

Heck, Obama even let Joe Biden watch:

Even Democratic Vice President Joe Biden was allowed into the Oval Office on Wednesday to help witness President Obama signing the new START missile warhead reduction treaty with Russia. This is a really big deal until the next one.

The nation’s economy is obviously now in full-swing recovery mode because, as everyone knows, for this crowd creating jobs has been Job One from Day One.

So, there’s plenty of free time now for nine other Washington types to help witness the presidential signing by uselessly standing around. (If a president signs something and nobody’s officially watching, is it still really, really signed?)

Why keep the press out, especially if Biden gets in?  This is an entirely avoidable controversy, and one that reinforces the notion that the treaty isn’t a victory at all, either for Obama or the US.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!