Chuck Todd Scolded by Obama at Press Conference, But Who’ll Have the Last Laugh?
Today at his rapidly-assembled press conference, President Obama was asked about a number of topics of varying importance, ranging from health care to his smoking habits to the election situation in Iran. When pressed on spelling out consequences for Iran by “petulant kindergartener” Chuck Todd from NBC, Obama quipped that he “wasn’t on a 24 hour news cycle” like the White House Press Corps was. POTUS 1, Press Corps 0. Wait, is it?
Obama’s expression may in fact be his mindset, but is it what he stated true in reality? The current revolution in communications technology that is allowing information to be shared and knowledge to be created in decentralized ways has changed journalism drastically. Ever since Matt Drudge effectively broke the Monica Lewinsky story in the Clinton administration and later with the rise of the Huffington Post (a reporter from which asked the second question at today’s press conference today), new media has created a 24 hour news environment, whether anyone likes it or not.
This may not be the best environment within which to communicate what the White House is doing and thinking. But it is reality. Ignoring the 24 hour newscycle may be like ignoring the phone or television, and may have negative consequences. It’s not clear if President Obama’s quip will be taken as a mutual joke between the press and the politicians or if it will be the start of a cold standoff between the demands of a press corps trying to stay relevant in an age of Twitter, Craigslist, and endless WordPress blogs and a federal government increasingly burdened by serious global and local problems. Time will tell.