Did you watch it? What did you think?
As usual, I think the new pres handled himself well. The guy's just chock full o' poise. I also think he made some good points selling portions of his stimulus plan — particularly the green energy and medical records parts.
And as usual, when I force myself to watch one of these things, I sympathized with him and what he was trying to say, and got really irritated at some the stupid, facile, superficially provocative questions the media reps asked. For instance, I know we're supposed to think Helen Thomas is cute or something because she's so old, but what the hell did she mean by "so-called terrorists" (which the president politely called her down for, by setting out quite clearly what a terrorist is). And did she really want the president to blurt out, in response to her hectoring (see how she kept asking it, talking over him?), who in the Mideast has nukes and who doesn't? What did she expect him to say, something like "Oh, you mean, besides Israel?" Does she think a new president should gab with her, in front of the country, about whatever juicy tidbits he's picked up at those cool intel briefings?
And who was it, the CNN guy? who asked, as this guy's walking in the door and beginning to turn our resources more fully toward a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, "Hey, when can we leave Afghanistan?" What kinds of questions are these? Are they randomly chosen from questions overheard on the street, or what? What sort of intelligent answer could anyone possibly expect from such a question?
And The Huffington Post? A blog? A representative of Arianna Huffington gets a question, as opposed to… I don't know… the Chicago Tribune? What do they do, drag these names out of a hat? Or is it, "let's give one to a serious newspaper, one to a network, throw in a blog, and if there's a little old lady in tennis shoes we'll give her a shot, too?"
I've never really liked the combination of journalism and theater that is the news conference… all that posturing and primping before one's peers and the folks at home, everybody trying to impress somebody, and mostly persuading everyone as to what idiots they are. The very few such events I attended as a reporter, I kept my mouth shut rather than be part of the show. If I couldn't find out what I needed to know before such a cattle call, I wasn't doing my job. Later, as an editor, I told reporters they'd BETTER have the whole story ahead of time, and preferably have it filed. They should then attend the show on the remote chance that something would come up they didn't know already. They were not to ask questions during the conference unless they couldn't get them answered any other way (which they should regard as a failure), for the simple fact that they'd better know a LOT more than the TV and radio types who live off such events, so why should they get to feed off your good questions?
It occurs to me as I reminisce that I was not the easiest editor for a reporter to work for… probably a good thing I defected to editorial in 1994, and left all that behind.
Oh, well. I think I'll read some Moby Dick and go to bed.