Oh, Dear: Helen Thomas Now Fretting About Obama White House's Control of Media
5:00 PM, Jul 1, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
I find it not at all "shocking," as Thomas asserts, that the White House would hold a town hall event tailored to suit its needs, so she's going down the road to Loopytown on that one, but some of this exchange definitely goes in the Helen's "even a broken clock" file. At least both she and Chip Reid show some proper skepticism and awareness of the White House's orchestration of such events, unlike the NYT.
What's more convincing than her dismay at the idea that an administration would orchestrate a town hall, which she seems to imply is more devious than anything Bush pulled (!)- "The point is the control. We have never had that in the White House. We have had some control, but not (unintelligible)..."- is her dig at the Obama White House for failing to live up to its own promises.
"I'm amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency, and you have control," she said before delving back into the Nico Pitney/HuffPo controversy. "It's a pattern of controlling the press. Your formal engagements are pre-packaged."
"How so?" retorted Gibbs.
"By calling reporters the night before to tell them they're going to be called on. It's shocking," she said.
Gibbs' responses were peppered, as always, with dismissive laughter- a tone I usually admire when taken with Thomas- but she and Chip Reid of CBS were actually on the right track this time around. Watch the hilarity, below: