Obama Refuses to Answer Question of CBS Reporter After Signing 'Press Freedom Act'
On Monday, President Obama signed into law the "Press Freedom Act," but refused to answer a question from CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid at the conclusion of the signing ceremony. While Reid described the ironic incident on the CBSNews.com Political Hotsheet blog, neither Monday's Evening News nor Tuesday's Early Show mentioned the President's dodge.
On the CBS blog, Reid described the purpose of the law, which "expands the State Department's annual human rights reports to include a description of press freedoms in each country." He then noted how "It seemed a good opportunity to showcase press freedom in this country....So after he signed the bill, and as the press 'wranglers' began aggressively herding us out of the room, I asked if he still has confidence in BP. He ignored the question."
Reid also pointed out that Obama "has not held a prime-time White House news conference in many months, despite much pleading from pundits and members of the media." However, not much of that "pleading" has been featured on CBS broadcasts.
In describing the exchange with the President, Reid recalled: "I tried this: 'In the interest of press freedom, would you take a couple questions on BP?' That did elicit a smile, and he told me I was free to ask questions. Someone else shouted, 'Will you answer them?' He said he's not holding a press conference today as we were escorted out the door."
RealClearPolitics.com featured video of the exchange. Interestingly, WhiteHouse.gov also posted video of the signing ceremony on YouTube, but made sure to edit out the President's back and forth with Reid.
Update: Talking to Mediaite.com's Tommy Christopher about the exchange with Obama, Reid declared that he was just trying to "express the frustration of the White House Press Corps" at the President's lack of press conferences.
-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.