A Sycophant Press and a Thin-Skin President
I just -- I want to end by saying a few words about the men and women in this room whose job it is to inform the public and pursue the truth. You know, we meet tonight at a moment of extraordinary challenge for this nation and for the world, but it's also a time of real hardship for the field of journalism. And like so many other businesses in this global age, you've seen sweeping changes and technology and communications that lead to a sense of uncertainty and anxiety about what the future will hold.
Across the country, there are extraordinary, hardworking journalists who have lost their jobs in recent days, recent weeks, recent months. And I know that each newspaper and media outlet is wrestling with how to respond to these changes, and some are struggling simply to stay open. And it won't be easy. Not every ending will be a happy one.
But it's also true that your ultimate success as an industry is essential to the success of our democracy. It's what makes this thing work. You know, Thomas Jefferson once said that if he had the choice between a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, he would not hesitate to choose the latter.
Clearly, Thomas Jefferson never had cable news to contend with -- (laughter) -- but his central point remains: A government without newspapers, a government without a tough and vibrant media of all sorts, is not an option for the United States of America. (Applause.)
So I may not -- I may not agree with everything you write or report. I may even complain, or more likely Gibbs will complain, from time to time about how you do your jobs, but I do so with the knowledge that when you are at your best, then you help me be at my best. You help all of us who serve at the pleasure of the American people do our jobs better by holding us accountable, by demanding honesty, by preventing us from taking shortcuts and falling into easy political games that people are so desperately weary of.
And that kind of reporting is worth preserving -- not just for your sake, but for the public's. We count on you to help us make sense of a complex world and tell the stories of our lives the way they happen, and we look for you for truth, even if it's always an approximation,
-REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' ASSOCIATION DINNER, May 9, 2009, Washington Hilton, Washington D.C.
White House Health Reform Communications Director is Former ABC News Correspondent
A couple follow ups on ABC’s health care reform special at the White House next week.
• It turns out the Director of Communications for the White House Office of Health Reform, since last month, is former ABC News correspondent Linda Douglass, who left journalism last year to join the Obama campaign. This is leading some to wonder whether ABC News had the upper hand in landing the president for the primetime special as well as an interview on GMA and allowing two ABC News broadcasts to originate from the White House next week. An ABC News spokesperson, however, says there’s no connection between Douglass and ABC’s access. The network approached the administration days after the inauguration and pitched the idea of a White House town hall meeting, says the spokesperson.