Jay Rosen at PressThink wins the “Best Idea Of The Year Award” for this little piece of brilliance in response to Josh Bolton, the White House Chief of Staff, who hinted that he may end the daily press briefings:
“End the briefings! I suppose it would never occur to Bolten that such a decision also belongs to the people being briefed. If Snow turns out to be McClellan with better hair, the press ought to quit the briefing room and give up on getting explanations from the White House. Beat Bolten to the punch, in other words.
By “quit” I mean pull your top talent. Send interns instead to occupy the seats without asking questions or filing reports. That means no correspondents at the two daily briefings, none on the President’s plane, none at his public appearances. (Except for foreign trips where other heads of state might speak.) Let the White House publicize itself.”
Just imagine it. Tony Snow steps behind the podium and gazes out to a room of youthful and unfamiliar faces. He stumbles uncomfortably with his opening statement and then opens the floor to questions…..
Maybe he will muddle through some topics the Communications office planned to highlight, but all he would see is a pack of kids hurriedly scribbling down what he’s saying. On first blush it may seem like everything the White House has ever dreamed of – a corps of stenographers. Except for two things:
- It would be glaringly apparent that these briefings are (and were) meaningless.
- The real reporters would (hopefully) be out doing real journalism.
We can only hope.