During the campaign Obama made a habit of snubbing the foreign press while abroad. In London, Obama is making reporters angry by snubbing those that crossed the Atlantic with him.
LONDON — Is President Obama trying to muzzle his press corps?
The standard form during “joint press availabilities” — bureaucratic lingo for press conferences where leaders from two different countries stand next to each other and take questions from reporters — is that each official’s press corps gets the same number of questions.
Well, during the joint press availability on Wednesday with Mr. Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the ornate British foreign office near 10 Downing Street, Mr. Brown called on the U.K. press corps for four whole questions. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama only called on the White House press corps, which schlepped (granted, on a really nice United 777 charter) across the Atlantic to scrupulously chronicle his first overseas trip as president, thrice.
Mr. Obama even tried to cut off the press conference after six questions had been asked—most dealing with the growing rift between the United States and the rest of the world over how to fix the global economy. “All right?” he asked, in an “O.K.-we’re-done-I’m-outta-here” way.
Mr. Brown was having none of that. As Mr. Obama made to leave, Mr. Brown exercised his host’s privilege and called on George Pascoe-Watson, from a tabloid, The Sun. He may have regretted that though, because Mr. Pascoe-Watson asked Mr. Obama if he had any advice that would help Mr. Brown, whose poll numbers are in the basement, to win re-election.
Here’s the video:
According to the report, it’s customary for the visiting dignitary to call on another member of his/her domestic press corps after the host dignitary has called on one so that the visitor always gets the last question. Obama didn’t, ending the questioning then.
Frankly, I don’t think Obama likes being in front of the foreign press which isn’t nearly as fawning towards him as the domestic press is and wants as little time in front of them as possible.