Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sweet throws the grenade

The setting is a July 22nd press conference where Obama tries to pitch his health care reform.

The final question was by Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times. If you ever believed these press conferences were spontaneous, the article linked below should remove that idea from your mind.

Reporters are selected in advance and notified. They are also told they will probably be able to ask a question. And, as the article also reveals, the reporters are chosen in part because of the outlet they represent, sometimes pitting one paper against another in the same city.

(So much for the theatrics that lead us to believe that the president is merely scanning the crowd for a raised hand. I suppose this is NOT an Obama invention, but rather the procedure for previous presidents as well.)

So, here’s Lynn Sweet’s account of the press conference:,CST-NWS-sweet24.article

Wonks will debate whether or not the question itself was a plant by Obama or at least approved in advance. Sweet says no. Some folks simply don’t believe her.

If the question was known in advance I’d say the president did a poor job of answering it. Some say he wanted to stir controversy to either deflect attention away from Washington or invigorate the black agenda. We may never know.

We DO know that Sweet’s bomb and Obama’s fumble nourished the media for days. Here it is ten days out and we are now exploiting the minor characters, finding out all there is to know about the 911 caller. Gates made news by sending her flowers.

Next, I suppose we’ll be exploring the day-to-day life of the dispatcher. Or perhaps the guy who maintained the police car used in the call.

Speaking of flowers, I hope every media outlet in the land is sending flowers to Lynn Sweet. After all, she’s a rainmaker.

Note: I happen to like the way Lynn Sweet handled the Blago scandal. Her own words are less important than the source information she provides. Sweet makes sure we have transcripts and pdfs of indictments and other cool stuff for those of us who like to read it for ourselves.

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