British press under strange impression that Obama doesn't like to be questioned

From Tim Shipman at the Telegraph, a companion piece to Dana Milbank’s story on the glaring dearth of diplomatic niceties extended to Gordon Brown on his trip to D.C. Remember that press conference that supposedly got snowed out? Word on the street is that no presser had ever been scheduled despite Brown’s desire for camera time with The One. The Oval Office photo op? Four questions taken in all, and no obligatory warm words of introduction for Brown from Obama. What gives? Shipman thinks he knows:

It will doubtless be seen as self-indulgent bleating by the media but there is much about this incident that is revealing about the way President Obama does business.

A Washington Post colleague just called me and said that the White House press corps cannot think of a single previous occasion when a British Prime Minister was treated in this way…

Major British hack involvement in a full blown press conference has always been regarded as useful by the White House press corps. We ask different questions from them, usually more aggressively and get answers they could not. There were several spiky and revealing moments between President Bush and the BBC political editor Nick Robinson. It is bizarre that Mr Obama is less willing to answer questions than Mr Bush. It reflects very poorly on his tendency towards control freakery, which has been in evidence since his campaign…

Obama has been running scared of the international media and the British press in particular since the start of his campaign. He didn’t give a single interview to a British outlet even when he was in the UK. This is very unusual, particularly from a man who so desperately wants to be loved on the world stage. We know we’re not special, given Obama’s general contempt for beat reporters (as opposed to his schmoozing with editors), but it is still peculiar.

At Britain’s Spectator, Alex Massie shares Shipman’s suspicion but puts it, er, a bit more bluntly. Good work, Hopenchange. Exit question: Why can’t the man just eat his waffle?