- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 15, 2009


Lost in the media praise for President Barack Obama’s first public address on national television Monday night, and his handling of the Q&A; that followed, was the fact that it was all scripted.

Some members of black news organizations were surprised that they did get cushy front-row seats but upset they were not called on for questions, as Joe Curl pointed out in his article, “Obama snubs black press.” Some in the black press complained about being used as “window dressing,” and they may have a point. What purpose does it serve to put black journalists from black-owned media organizations in the front row where they can be seen, if they are not on the list Mr. Obama used when calling upon questioners? Mr. Obama’s list – that’s what no one has mentioned. President George W. Bush was skewered for having “scripted” press conferences but Mr. Obama got a pass, as usual.

Mr. Obama should either shelve the Potemkin village approach or, if he wants to maintain civility, let everyone run to a microphone who wants to ask a question and take the questions in order. Apparently that is the only way reporters from black media organizations have any shot at asking the president questions on camera.

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