Reporters ridiculed Mitt Romney on his recent foreign trip for not making himself more available for questions. Even though Romney held one press availability in London, journalists complained they “didn’t come all the way here to handle photo ops.”
President Obama, meanwhile, last faced questions from the White House press corps on June 20 at the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. That means he’s now gone seven weeks without answering a serious question from journalists, according to veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler.
This, of course, is nothing new. Jake Tapper of ABC News reported earlier this year that “Obama talks to the White House press corps far fewer than his predecessors,” preferring instead to do sit-down interviews arranged by the White House. Even when he does engage with the press, Obama takes fewer questions than his predecessors.
The press briefing in Mexico, for example, featured only six questions. Since then, reporters have tried to probe the president about current events. They’ve had little success, as Koffler notes:
Since then, Obama has held no press conferences, given no interviews to White House reporters, and taken no questions at the White House events he has held where reporters have been present.
After a July 26 Cabinet meeting, Obama actually laughed off the prospect of taking a serious question about gun laws.
During his re-election campaign in 2004, President George W. Bush faced criticism for failing to answer reporters’ questions. Obama, so far, appears to have escaped the same ridicule.
Koffler wonders why reporters aren’t raising a stink:
Obama’s silencing of the White House press corps has drawn no similar protest.
To the contrary, Daily Caller White House reporter Neil Munro was derided by his colleagues when he interrupted Obama’s remarks in the Rose Garden June 15 to try to ask about immigration. Munro said he thought Obama had finished.
It turns out that was one of the last questions any White House reporter has asked the president.
Obama, of course, has done some select interviews where he’s faced mostly softball questions. He joined first lady Michelle on “CBS This Morning” with anchor Charlie Rose in July. That appears to be Obama’s preferred approach. In his first term, he’s given more interviews than his predecessors.
Rob Bluey directs the Center for Media and Public Policy, an investigative journalism operation at The Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @RobertBluey