By Rick Saunders & Jeff Schreiber
Maybe, just maybe, there is the slimmest of slim chances that the torrid love affair between mainstream media journalists and the Squatter-in-Chief at 1600 Pennsylvania is cooling off. Let us hope, for the sake of our children and our children’s children, that the infatuation keeps chilling.
For that reason, it was absolutely glorious to see Chip Reid, CBS White House correspondent, and Helen Thomas, Frodo Baggins’ great-grandmother, expose White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to be the doofus he really is. Watching and listening to the entire video clip is very revealing as to the depths to which The Guy from Chicago and his minions have gone to package, control, manipulate and dictate–perhaps “suggest” would be a more palatable verb?–to persons deemed worthy of posing questions the questions they should pose.
Reid’s comments are particularly good, and Thomas’ additions are even better. When Gibbs tried to deflect Reid’s question of how he and the White House could justify the control of participants and questions to be posed at “town hall meetings,” she interrupted him to object to the nature and degree of control being imposed by the Obama regime over press conferences and town hall meetings: “The point is the control from here,” she said. “We have never had that in the White House. And we have had some control but not this control. I mean I’m amazed, I’m amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency and you have controlled . . . it’s shocking.”
Careful, Helen. With that attitude, you might be next in line to get the “evil eye.”
Even better, when Gibbs suggested that the discussion be continued until after the town hall meeting at issue had been completed, Thomas actually piped up and insisted that “no, no, no . . . we’re having it now.” And Gibbs’ response? “Well, I’ll be happy to have it now.” Yeah, right. Gibbs then asked if there was any evidence “going on” that he or anybody else “was controlling the press,” to which Thomas responded that “formal engagements are pre-packaged . . . by calling reporters the night before to tell them they’re going to be called on. That is shocking.”
A wounded Gibbs subsequently dismissed her by saying that, “well, we’ve had this discussion ad nauseum,” and then pointed off to another reporter.
But Helen didn’t give up. “Of course you would [move on],” she said. “Because you don’t have any answers.”
She almost sounds like a Republican. And these Saturday Night Live-like escapades can only get better as the destruction of the economy, the decimation of America’s security and the frenetic dash to a collectivist landfill orchestrated by the Obama regime continues. Even more so because the only thing the average journalist loves more than the Barack Obama is their ego, their career, and their access. The more the White House pushes them out, the more they’ll push back. And, speaking of Saturday Night Live-esque buffoonery, with Sen. Al Franken–does that sound weird, or what?–now likely to be placed on the Judiciary Committee just in time for the Sotomayor investiture, the lunacy will only deepen. Stay tuned to that particular sideshow, and keep a barf bag nearby.
As it turns out, Thomas and Reid had reason to be critical of the Obama administration’s handling of the health care town hall meeting earlier today. After all, the White House has a history of manipulating audiences and questions, especially in the town hall format, a style designed to bring the president as close to everyday Americans as possible. A March 27, 2009 piece at the Washington Post details exactly who was “randomly” chosen to participate in another East Room town hall meeting, going so far as to contrast how the questioners presented themselves with who they really were. Here’s an excerpt — but read the whole thing . . . it’s fascinating:
[T]he five fully identified questioners called on randomly by the president in the East Room were anything but a diverse lot. They included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union, a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama among Hispanics during the primary; a former Democratic candidate for Virginia state delegate who endorsed Obama last fall in an op-ed in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama’s campaign in 2008.
Ooh . . . tough room. Shockingly, today’s town hall meeting on health care was no different, with the White House micromanaging everything just the way Helen Thomas and Chip Reid knew they would do. Consider the similarity of the March 27 report with this one, published today by the Washington Post:
In the highly stage-managed event, questions for Obama came from a live audience selected by the White House and the college, and from Internet questions chosen by the administration’s own new-media team.
Of the seven questions the president answered, four were selected by his own staff from people who submitted videos on the White House Web site or who responded to a request for “tweets” from the administration.
The president called randomly on three audience members. Each turned out to be members of groups with close ties to his administration: the SEIU union, Health Care for America Now, and Organizing for America, which is a part of the Democratic National Committee. White House officials said that was a coincidence.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. Barack Obama and his flunkies believe that regular ole’ Americans like us are stupid. After all, they banked on blanket political ignorance to put them in the White House.
In one touching moment, a downtrodden-looking woman named Debby Smith stood up with the microphone and explained to a nodding, empathetic president that she suffers from kidney cancer, has a new tumor, and has no health insurance and therefore no way of paying for it. President Obama, “Compassionate Collectivist” to George W. Bush’s “Compassionate Conservative,” embraced Ms. Smith and assured her that he would “find out what we can do within existing law” and touted her as the perfect example of why we need to spend nearly two trillion dollars borrowed from the Chinese, destroy our health care system, eliminate jobs and devastate our economy for a net gain of 16 million newly covered Americans.
What Barack Obama did not explain, however, is that Debby Smith was part of a carefully hand-picked audience and had not only previously volunteered for Obama’s campaign, but has been a longtime healthcare activist. Not only that, but back in December Smith actually moderated a healthcare-related town hall meeting connected with then President Elect Barack Obama — so it’s fair to say that he has known of her plight for a while now.
It’s this kind of blatant dishonesty that has worked so far for this president but, perhaps thanks to an apparently sobering White House press corps, it may not work for much longer. Regardless of the average American’s political knowledge base, people simply do not like to be lied to. And, from the beginning of his disastrous presidency on to now, it’s difficult to find a single day where Barack Obama was telling America the truth.
Rick Saunders is a freelance writer who splits his time between endeavors in southern California and the American southwest. He began writing for America’s Right in December 2008. Jeff Schreiber established America’s Right in January 2008.