This afternoon I tuned in to see President Obama’s press conference on the aftermath of the slaughter in Newtown, Connecticut. He’s putting Joe Biden in charge of a group of interested politicians and stakeholders to assemble some policy recommendations, hopefully in time for the President’s State of the Union. I was pleased to see Obama putting some focus on this as he promised he would last Friday when he tearfully addressed the nation.
Then it came time for the White House press corps to ask questions. I had several I could have asked. The first question was on what opposition he might get from the gun lobby … eh no … actually it was on the fiscal cliff. My jaw dropped. After a ten or so minute statement on trying to prevent another Newtown, the first question was about the fiscal cliff. I got my composure as Obama called on the next reporter, who asked about the 2nd amendment …. eh no … he asked a follow-up question on the fiscal cliff. At this point I was really starting to lose it. My poor wife stood helpless as I yelled at the TV.
OK, time for question number three. The third question would surely be about something related to Newtown or gun control. Nope. A third question about the damn fiscal cliff. I nearly popped a blood vessel. To make matters worse, Obama seemed genuinely pleased not to have to answer any questions on the topic du jour. His answers on the fiscal cliff rambled on and on. Finally, David Jackson of USA Today asked about gun control legislation. Jake Tapper ended the presser by asking Obama why it has taken so long for him to focus on gun violence in America.
I returned to my afternoon routine thoroughly disgusted at the press corps. Then late this evening, my wife informed me I was not alone. Apparently Twitter lit up like a Christmas tree with folks who reacted just as I did. In the Media section of the Huffington Post, the headline read “Dear White House Press Corps: WTH?!?” with the following opening paragraph:
The White House press corps came under searing criticism for asking about the fiscal cliff immediately after President Obama’s statement about gun control on Wednesday. – “White House Reporters Hammered For Fiscal Cliff Questions At Obama Gun Control Press Conference”
CNN personality Piers Morgan tweeted my thoughts exactly first here:
and a few minutes later here:
Folks, if the priorities of the White House press corps reflect those of the average American, we will have learned nothing from the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut and many more of our precious family members are destined to be cut down by madmen with access to military grade weapons.
Screen capture from Huffington Post headline 12/19/2012