One reader, Tom English, complained to Sullivan: “To me, it really looks like the meeting was held to run talking/propaganda points by the media to see how best to sell the war.”
Here’s the thing about that: Given that the affair involved insiderish journalists and the president talking about affairs of state under secretive ground rules, English is pretty much entitled to reach whatever conclusion he most suspects. After all, there’s no transcript to dispel his suspicions. Sullivan rightly notes that President Obama hasn’t innovated these sessions, which have a long history in the White House. However, she notes:
[S]uch meetings shouldn’t be a substitute for allowing news reporters, on behalf of the public, to grill the president on the record – especially on a subject as weighty and important as impending military action. But increasingly, they seem to be just that. Readers are right to be troubled about the implications.