The Sad Lot of the White House Correspondent
In a very long piece in this week's New Yorker (not available on the Web at all), Ken Auletta assesses the miserable state of relations between the Bush White House and the press. White House officials think of the press as just another special interest. Reporters feel they are treated with contempt. (See the fifth item in yesterday's White House Briefing and the second item in Howard Kurtz's Media Notes from yesterday's Washington Post.)
In a Q and A on newyorker.com today, Auletta says that the much-coveted position of White House correspondent just ain't what it used to be. “This is partly because the news organizations are less interested in government,” Auletta says. “It is partly because ambitious reporters are turned off by the stenographic aspects of the White House beat. And it is partly the result of having fewer standout journalistic 'stars' covering the White House.”
Your thoughts? I'd love to hear them.
Personally, I can't for the life of me see why white house beat reporters accept the 'stenographic' aspect of the job. It may serve the White House for them to be passive, but it serves no one else.
Take this story for example. Why haven't reporters been collecting the questions the White House won't answer? Or this story —how come we haven't seen a single story about what happened during what might have been an overnight shredding party?
Of course, what I'd really like to see is adoption of my Modest Proposal For Improving White House Press Conferences. But I'm not holding my breath.