A Modest Proposal For Improving White House Press Conferences

I have a modest and practical proposal for improving White House press conferences.

Sooner or later, probably later, there's going to be another official press conference in the White House. Past form suggests that the Administration will wait as long as it dares before having one, but sooner or later they'll do it. And, past form also suggests that the White House will have worried about nothing, because the reporters will ask softball or inane questions, and will be so caught up in their own narratives, or competitive agendas, that there will be little follow-up probing on any evasion.

So, here's my suggestion: All the White House correspondents—especially the foreign ones whose easy questions can be counted on to break the flow of any serious attempt to follow-up—should club together. They should agree a list of questions that need answering, and draft them carefully to minimize the opportunity for a fudgy answer (this can never be eliminated—a good pol knows how to spin it). Then, the whole press corps should go to the press conference with a copy of the list in hand. Everyone would agree that if called on they would either ask a followup to the question previously asked, or ask the next question on the list. And nothing else.

It's nice to dream.

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