It’s not an answer President Obama gave at Tuesday’s White House press conference that has people talking.

It’s a question -- the one he took from Huffington Post editor Nico Pitney.

Why?

Apparently the White House and the Huffington Post had planned the exchange in advance. Pitney received a temporary press pass from the White House.

First, The Guardian’s American editor Michael Tomasky called it an important “moment” that a private citizen in Iran:

“…could convey a question to a journalist halfway across the world and that the question would end up being conveyed to the president of the United States. It's kind of an unsettling thing for the traditional media.”

Although the White House didn’t know the content of the question, there’s debate over statecraft versus stagecraft.

One member of the traditional media - Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank - didn’t like it. She called it “prepackaged entertainment” that:

“…wasn't so much a news conference as it was a taping of a new daytime drama.”

On FOX News, former Bush press secretary Dana Perino says the issue is that coordinated questions make the U.S. look bad:

“People all around the world, people who we are encouraging to respect journalists and the free press are watching, and they will know about this and it weakens our position.”

Do you think it makes the press look bad or Obama look bad to prearrange questions during press conferences? Or is this no big deal?

Statecraft vs. Stagecraft

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Jun 24, 2009

Statecraft vs. Stagecraft

It’s not an answer President Obama gave at Tuesday’s White House press conference that has people talking.

It’s a question -- the one he took from Huffington Post editor Nico Pitney.

Why?

Apparently the White House and the Huffington Post had planned the exchange in advance. Pitney received a temporary press pass from the White House.

First, The Guardian’s American editor Michael Tomasky called it an important “moment” that a private citizen in Iran:

“…could convey a question to a journalist halfway across the world and that the question would end up being conveyed to the president of the United States. It's kind of an unsettling thing for the traditional media.”

Although the White House didn’t know the content of the question, there’s debate over statecraft versus stagecraft.

One member of the traditional media - Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank - didn’t like it. She called it “prepackaged entertainment” that:

“…wasn't so much a news conference as it was a taping of a new daytime drama.”

On FOX News, former Bush press secretary Dana Perino says the issue is that coordinated questions make the U.S. look bad:

“People all around the world, people who we are encouraging to respect journalists and the free press are watching, and they will know about this and it weakens our position.”

Do you think it makes the press look bad or Obama look bad to prearrange questions during press conferences? Or is this no big deal?
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