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February 24, 2005

NRO: Everything Jeff Gannon Need to Know He Learned From Wolf Blitzer

Lorie Byrd of Polipundit thought it might be a good idea to compare Jeff Gannon's softballs (which, okay, they were) to the numerous softballs of the Clinton era.

Tim Graham of NRO has beaten her to the punch:

Liberal media elitists say they want only "real" journalists, not "partisan operatives," to be allowed in the White House briefing room. But what they really might wind up accomplishing with their "Gannongate" pounding was the silencing of rare right-leaning voice in the White House press corps. To them, you can only be "authentic" by pounding the president from the left.

At the Columbia Journalism Review blog, Brian Montopoli claims "this isn't a media bias issue, no matter how hard you spin it...Real journalists, the ones who belong in press conferences, know that access to a president is a rare gift, and they know enough not to squander it. Gannon threw away his opportunity in favor of self-aggrandizing partisan spectacle. He put himself and his agenda ahead of the public good, and he did it in a manner so egregious that he left little doubt of his intentions. If both sides of the debate, blinded by partisan zeal, don't realize that's the real reason he had to go, they've missed the point."

Montopoli cannot be serious. If anyone who asked softball questions at the White House "had to go," the White House briefing room would have almost emptied out in the Clinton years. The problem for Montopoli and other liberals is they seem to think that the need for an adversarial press emerged in 2001, when President Bush was first inaugurated. If we travel back to the Clinton era, it's not hard to discover a whole chorus of White House reporters who, to use Montopoli's words, squandered their access to Clinton with helpful softball questions, who put his agenda ahead of the public good and made a partisan spectacle of themselves in front of a large number of Americans who wanted the press to act as a watchdog of President Clinton.

And he's got one set of "tough" media questions for Clinton -- post-impeachment, post Juanita Broadderick's strangely unexamined charges -- to prove his point.

Thanks to PoliPundit for the head's up.


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posted by Ace at 10:41 AM

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