Tuesday, April 20, 2004

They Get Letters

I'm actually having a hard time comprehending this. From reader t to the NYT Public Editor, an exchange:

t to the PE:

[t provides link to this story]

"For each press conference, the White House press secretary asks the reporters for their questions, selects six or seven of the questions to answer and those reporters are the only ones called upon toask their questions during the press conference."

Can you confirm or deny this practice? If it is true, do you feel that the press should inform the public that the press conferences are scripted? This would appear to be a betrayal of the public's trust.

PE's response:

I'm fairly certain that two reporters at the press conference asked unscripted questions

Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Edtior

t writes back:

Thank you for your quick reply. Only two? Was the NYT reporter's question scripted?

From the PE:

I am uncertain if Ms. Bumiller's question was submitted to the president before-hand. Perhaps you might write to the president if you are unhappy with this system.

Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor

Name and email headers clipped.

...oops. Reader t has a blog, and I obviously didn't need to clip the name out. Stupid me, didn't notice...

...Josh Marshall has a post up with denials from pals. Occasional commenter Wh Ho' (and from what I can glean genuine member of the press) has also denied it. My take is this -- I have no doubt that some of the journalists do not submit questions and do not believe the questions are submitted. However, that isn't the same thing as saying no journalists submit questions.