President Obama: Primetime Press Conference (2)

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Blue Velvet, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #1
    Tonight, at 8pm Eastern Time (midnight UK time due to the US being in daylight saving already), Barack Obama will give his second primetime conference (duration about one hour) carried by CBS, ABC, NBC as well as cable channels such as FOX and CNN.

    Live web coverage will also be on C-Span as well as other outlets like CNN.

    The press conference will probably follow the pattern of the last one which was an approx. 10-15 minute statement followed by questions from the White House press corps. Top of the White House's messaging will probably be laying out the case for the Secretary of Treasury's bad bank plan, as well as shaping the dialogue about AIG and a number of other bailed-out financial institutions.

    Given that this is live and is a bit different from taped interviews and late-night shows, this is an opportunity to watch and make judgement on primarily two things:

    1. Is the President explaining himself and his administration's plans adequately to the American people?

    2. Given the importance of a functioning press to a democracy, is the White House press corps also giving a good account of itself? Is it asking the questions you want to hear or is it tossing softballs?​


    Couple of things to also watch for:

    • Will Helen Thomas get called upon? She's the grande dame of the press corps and is a shrewd cookie.
    • Will one of the blogs get called upon? Last time around, Sam Stein from The Huffington Post got a call, which is unprecedented and sent the usual print and TV journalists into a tizzy.

    I look forward to reading your reaction. :)
     
  2. jonbravo77 macrumors 6502a

    jonbravo77

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    #2
    Hi BV,

    So the press conference just finished and I think the President did a fine job answering the questions. No, Helen was not called upon and I do not believe anyone from a blog was called upon either (I could be wrong in that, I wasn't able to catch everyone who was called upon).

    As far as the President explaining what he and his administration is trying to do, I think he is doing a good job of this. He did explain what his main goals of his budget are ie: Health Care being #1, education, energy. Someone asked about the democrats wanting to take out the middle class tax cut and if he would sign the budget with that removed. He did skirt that a bit until they asked again and he said that the tax cut for the middle class will be happening through the recovery bill and will be starting to get noticed on April 1st and that will be for the next 2 years.

    I unfortunately got the impression that some of the press corp. were putting the President on the spot on why things weren't happening now, he explained that things will take time, he's been in the job for around 60 days. One person asked why did it take him and Geither a couple of days to come out and respond with their outrage against the bonuses with AIG, he responded "look, I want to make sure I know what I am talking about before I talk about it" which I thought was a great response and not wanting to include himself in the knee-jerk reaction that a lot of other people are doing.

    There were some places that were heavy on political language and political correctness but that is to be expected. Overall, I think he did a great job in trying to explain that patience is going to be needed, these things don't happen right away, there is no silver bullet to this mess.

    That's my take on it.. :) Please keep in mind that I am paraphrasing..
     
  3. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

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    #3
    My stream packed up about 2 minutes into it and then I got sidetracked. So much for watching it. I'll check out some clips tomorrow.

    The gist I get from reading around is that the press corps are doing their damnedest to get answers, even to stupid questions, unlike with the previous administration who got a free pass on an illegal war and war crimes. The myth of the liberal media.
     
  4. Dmac77 macrumors 68020

    Dmac77

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    #4
    Are you seriously suggesting that the media is not liberally biased? How much proof do people need, to understand that the media has it out for us "big bad mean boogieman conservatives?"

    http://www.mediaresearch.org/biasbasics/biasbasics2admissions.asp
    http://web.archive.org/web/20061115...tentGuid=45b91780-4b5d-48ff-85a3-5c03f3f6119f
    http://web.archive.org/web/20080205...age=/Culture/archive/200209/CUL20020917b.html
    http://www.journalism.org/files/The Early Campaign FINAL.pdf

    I can post more proof of liberal bias if you want me to, but I doubt that you'll agree with me no matter how much proof you're shown.

    Don
     
  5. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #5
    Yes. First, there's no such thing as "The Media" indicated by a universal group mindset for literally thousands of people working for hundreds of organizations. If anything, the larger media is subject to far more complex influences than the "red vs. blue" structure your argument packs.

    Let me get out my violin. I'll play it while we watch eight-years of softball questions for former-President Bush, or the litany of unfocused interviews of CEOs in the financial industry.

    I'll focus on this one article because it's the most interesting to me. There are two things that I note in the article, the first is this:

    So, 51% of the stories were biased in one form or another (according to the research), but the largest chunk of stories was devoted to being neutral or balanced. This number should certainly be higher, but according to your argument the numbers should be very different.

    Journalists as a whole wrote more positive stories about Obama, but were more cynical about McCain. So, there's a bias, but it's a personal bias, attributable to McCain's prickliness or age, or maybe blowback from his previous 2000 run as the media heart-throb of the GOP. Also, there's the race issue, Obama's personal history when McCain was a known quantity, and other issues that journalists focused on. Yes, Obama did enjoy a wealth of positive stories, but is that attributable to media bias or something more complicated? I'm going with the second option.

    Rather than political bias, it seems that journalists were more interested in covering a specific aspect of the story—the least important one unfortunately, but not necessarily the one your argument suggests.

    Now, I'm not arguing that there's no bias against "conservatives" (a moving target of a label if there every was one), but that the bias is wildly overstated. Furthermore, as BV suggested earlier, the White House Press Corps is actually being aggressive and difficult, a marked change from the willing lambs they were under Bush. I'd suggest that rather than a political change of heart, the White House is probably more open to questions and hasn't (thus far) shut down reporters or installed a ringer like Jeff Gannon.


    From the article, it sounds like Kuypers' book might be interesting reading. I might have to pick it up, however there are two quotes I also thought interesting:

    And,

    What this article and Kuypers' article suggests is that the "mainstream media" is focused on one specific spectrum, ignoring the left and right as well as progressive causes. Again, there may be a bias, but it's not mule v. elephant.
     
  6. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #6
    The President still does not have much to talk about since it's very early in his administration. His speech was very general like anything I heard Bush or Clinton say before.

    Not much blame could be put on the President at this time. AIG is not his fault, or isn't currently perceived that way. If the US government hands out a lot more money and we don't see results by this time next year, and scandals come out about bonuses and AIG (and other companies), then the press will lay into him. It's about getting ratings and attacking any President does that. There is no liberal biased media if there is a story to get out where it's the press vs. the President. As we all know, the press had a field day going after W.

    In my life, I have seen every President run through the coals by the press (Nixon onward) and there is no reason that I think they will treat this President any differently.

    As a small child, I didn't understand all the hate adults and teens had on Johnson and Nixon, but by the time Ford came in, I realized that there were two competing political parties who lied a lot about each other. I also noticed people loved to make fun of Presidents ... thanks for the memories Chevy Chase. :)
     
  7. mgguy macrumors 6502

    mgguy

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    #7
    But the wars are still going on and the same battle-field tactics are being used as before, and yet not one word was said about Iraq by the media or Obama. I don't think Afganistan/Pakistan was brought up either. So the press seems to be consistent in giving out free passes on the subject of war. At least Bush discussed it in every press conference. This was a big issue in the campaign, but nary a word about it now. Go figure.
     
  8. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

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    #8

    Sorry, a long whine by Hugh Hewitt and Mark Halperin, a screed by the Media Research Center of all people, and other assorted loopy stuff does not proof make. You may as well post some ramblings from Michelle Malkin and RedState while you're about it.

    If you're going to just Google 'liberal media' and then post some links, that doesn't constitute proof in the slightest. What you think of as news has been distorted, so that you can no longer tell the difference between opinion and fact. When the center of your thinking is so right wing, everything appears biased to you.

    With all due respect, at the age of 14, you haven't the slightest clue of how the media treated both McCain and Bush over the last eight years, which is to say they had extremely easy rides compared to this administration so far. The American press, on the whole, operates in a very narrow centre-right band of opinion. You confuse individual journalist's politics with editorial policy... and that is overwhelmingly corporate.

    But to be honest, I don't really care either. I sincerely hope you continue to listen to your echo-chamber. Don't be surprised when reality intrudes now and then.

    But did you watch the press conference? What did you think?
     
  9. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    #9
    Wow. You linked to media research center. Nice job!
     
  10. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

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    #10

    Obama has already made policy changes in terms of the Iraq war some weeks ago, announcing a withdrawal timeline more or less in line with his campaign promises. Afghanistan/Pakistan is currently under review with an additional 17,000 troops being sent there before the elections. Or are you suggesting the press start making up some news? Watching Fox go about their business, I understand if you think that's the way news works.

    Also, both of the wars have slipped considerably down the list of people's concerns right now. They judge correctly that there's a certain level of containment. This is not news.

    Finally, the one big idea that George Bush had was the 'war on terror', a completely stupid and deceptive political construct that masked the reality of global conflict and acted as a smokescreen for the illegal war of Iraq.

    If you remember accurately, it was the press and TV that gave a free ride on the Iraq War, with John McCain's insane assertions that Iraq was responsible for the anthrax letters going unchallenged.
     
  11. mgguy macrumors 6502

    mgguy

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    #11
    Which "media" are you referring to? What hard questions have been aimed at Obama by anyone in the mainstream media? Or, to be more focussed, what was the worst question, in your opinion, that was asked of Obama in tonight's press conference.
     
  12. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

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    #12
    This doesn't make it right, but the media is actually asking tougher questions because they know that they have a decent chance (if not 100% chance) of it being answered truthfully.
     
  13. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

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    #13
    I'm sorry, but have forgotten the campaign? He had months of flag pins, Rev. Wright, hands on heart during the pledge of allegiance, lipstick on a pig, Bill Ayers... and the utterly stupid thing is, that none of was relevant to the issues while John McCain got a free ride on his economic illiteracy. It's late/early here in London; I'll address more recent reports later.

    As stated before, I haven't watched the whole thing yet. Just read some short pieces of the transcript and reading opinions here and there. It's 6am over here, I've been trying to get some work done as well. The general consensus seems to be that the smackdown of Ed Henry was deserved... I mean, how much tough questioning did George Bush get over the deficit over the last eight years?
     
  14. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #14
    Since I helped lead the charge into the weeds with the media bias off-shoot, I'll try to steer the conversation back.

    I enjoy Obama's responses, his note that there's a lack of alternative budgets for instance was very interesting. As TPM noted, it's a shot across Sen. Gregg's nose.

    Did Chuck Todd's question seem especially stupid to anyone else? He asked:

    Does he mean the people who've lost their jobs or health insurance, their homes, or their businesses? People who've had their hours cut, or are working more hours because someone else was laid off?

    I especially liked Obama's response:

    Also, on Chip Reid's question, Obama's response:

    As in other presidential press conferences, he didn't enumerate his entire plan line by line, but he did indicate several times where he wants to go.


    mgguy, I know you asked the question of BV, but I thought the worst question was from Kevin Chappell. I'm not sure what he was trying to learn from his tents questions. Although the next by Ann Compton was equally as meandering.
     
  15. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

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    #15
    Sometimes, they read better than they sound. The guy tries to talk in complete and comprehensive paragraphs which sometimes sounds like its meandering when its not.

    Did a woman reporter ask a question about race? I kinda heard something vague about it but not much more.
     
  16. mgguy macrumors 6502

    mgguy

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    #16
    What was illegal about the war that is not illegal now, and what war crimes were committed before that are not being committed now? I guess the earlier concerns have gone away now that a democrat has taken over command of the war. Obama is increasing troop levels in Afganistan and approving the use of Drone missiles which have killed innocent civilians without any complaints from the liberal crowd, but I guess this is now a war that they and media reporters can live with and now consider old news. The wars may be contained, but they have not changed much in terms of troop levels and the manner in which they are being conducted. Its interesting how the alleged evils of the war are overlooked now that Obama, who is perceived as a good guy, is in charge.
     
  17. mgguy macrumors 6502

    mgguy

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    #17
    We are not talking about the campaign but rather the media's treatment of presidents. At the time the flag pins, Wright, pledge, etc. was being raised, Hillary was still in the running, and you know how nasty she and her loyal followers, many of which were in the media, could be. It was still a horse race, and the media partook in it with relish, not knowing who was going to win. Admit it, we all had fun with it.

    Henry's question wasn't about the economy, but rather why Obama didn't speak up sooner about the AIG bonuses, which he know about several days before he expressed his outrage. It was a fair question that Obama never really answered before, and just swished it away tonight.

    FWIW, I thought Obama did a fairly good job in answering the questions. I don't agree with much of what he had to say, but he performed very well and his answers were well developed and clear.
     
  18. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #18
    You're probably right. I read very fast, so I tend to wait for the transcripts and read them rather than watch the entire news conference. I blame TiVo for my impatience with television. ;)

    That's Ann Compton's question, which just seemed pointless especially compared to the others.

    Well, first there's a marked difference of feeling between the Afghanistan war and the Iraq War. Personally, I believe we should be in Afghanistan and my complaints were always centered on how few troops we deployed, our dependence on the warlords who certainly allowed Bin Laden to slip past them, and our use of airpower over the far better use of ground troops in the counter-insurgency missions advocated by General Petraeus and British commanders.

    The use of drones, specifically the Predator (and Reaper upgrade) to strike at targets across the border into Pakistan is politically risky, but tactically useful. Obviously, we should be very cognizant about making such strikes when civilians could be killed, but the missions can be worthy. I'm willing to give Obama and the administration some time to let their strategy play out. I gave the Bush administration the same leeway, but that was in 2001-2003 or, a long time ago.

    Of course, there are dozens of media reporters who are talking about the Afghanistan war, the use of drones, and the inclusion of 17,000 more troops into that theater, just not at the White House Press Corps today. Why? The economy. The economy. The economy.
     
  19. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #19
    Chomsky has absolutely ripped to shreds this myth of 'Liberal media'. I don;t know why anyone would bother suggesting such an out of date notion.
     
  20. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #20
    Can people STOP saying "liberal media bias"?

    How can you have a "wide-open every opinion counts" media outlet, and then complain its not conservative enough?

    I mean the definition of conservative is to hold back, in lay terms it means close-minded and bias.

    Liberals can be conservative.

    Conservatives can not be liberal.

    I mean that in the general sense, not the obvious sense that most people are liberal of some things conservative of others. But when talking about "the liberal media" you are invoking the idea that liberalism is the opposite of conservatism, when in reality conservatism is closed-minded liberalism.

    The media SHOULD be wide open and liberal, so that conservatives can form their opinions with ALL the facts.
     
  21. jonbravo77 macrumors 6502a

    jonbravo77

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    #21
    I did think that Chuck Todd's question was indicative of the bubble a lot of people live in especially some of the media and people in Washington.

    What I would like to see in this thread is who actually watched or read the transcript of the press conference? I think a lot of people tend to want to comment anyway but didn't watch or read the conference.

    I watched it.
     
  22. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #22
    Don, the vast majority of media companies are owned by conservatives. The "liberal media" thing is nothing more than a Limbaugh talking point. I suggest you stop listening to that gasbag. He's nothing but poisonous vitriol.
     
  23. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #23
    I love Helen. [​IMG]

    If she has a question, she will go first. Protocol. :cool:
     
  24. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #24
    True. But as Dmac77 has pointed out in past posts he wants to think this way…

    :eek:
     
  25. MyDesktopBroke macrumors 6502

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    #25

    Here
    is a pretty good (if old) movie where people try to debunk the media bias accusation. Watch out, it's an hour long.
     

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