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Jun. 23 2009 - 1:25 pm | 12 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Chuck Todd Scolded by Obama at Press Conference, But Who’ll Have the Last Laugh?

Chuck Todd, writer for National Journal and ed...

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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.


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    I don’t know… I admire Obama’s resistance to the undertow of the news cycle, especially as represented by the cable news nets. Just because they need to bang the drum for fresh content on a 24-hr basis doesn’t mean newsmakers need to, um, wield the drumsticks. (That was a runaway metaphor. But you know what I mean.) And honestly, Chuck Todd has risen to his level of incompetence at the White House. He was much more effective as an analyst. I keep hoping they’ll find some graceful way to return him to that role.

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    About Me

    I'm a biological scientist by training with eclectic interests in politics, government, technology, and pop culture. My writing has appeared in diverse publications: PBS MediaShift, TechPresident, Mashable, Nature, Genetics, Genome Research, Defense and Technology Papers, Defense Horizons, The Washington Times, and The New York Times. Besides writing for True/Slant, conducting public policy research, and working on a book, I'm currently a regular columnist for O’Reilly Radar (social software and society), Federal Computer Week (emerging technology and government) and soon, DC Examiner. Because of all the above, I stare at books and computer screens too much, and at girls too little.

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