Journalism as theater criticism

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Another Obama press conference, another wave of media critiques. What Obama actually says in terms of policy and the direction of the country is of increasingly little interest to Beltway scribes. It's how he says it.

Last time: too boring.

This time: too nasty.

At least according to The Hill, which excitedly reported that Obama had lost his "cool" during the press; that he "snapped" at reporters, his critics had "gotten under his skin," and he flashed his "frustration." The Hill must have watched a different press conference than I did, because the one I saw featured an awful lot of light hearted give-and-take.

Let's take a look at the transcript [emphasis added]:

OBAMA: I'm not going to make news about Ben Bernanke...

(LAUGHTER)

... although I think he has done a fine job under very difficult circumstances.

And

OBAMA: What do you think?

(LAUGHTER)

And:

OBAMA: All right, if that's your question.

(LAUGHTER)

You think you're going to -- are you the ombudsman for the White House press corps? What's your question -- is that your question?

(LAUGHTER) QUESTION: Then I have a two-part question.

(LAUGHTER)

And:

OBAMA: OK. You're pitching; I'm catching.

QUESTION: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: I got the question.

First of all, was the reference to Spock, is that a crack on my ears?

(LAUGHTER)

And:

OBAMA: A few questions?

QUESTION: Well...

(LAUGHTER)

And:

OBAMA: I -- I am not suggesting that I have a crystal ball, since I -- since you just threw back at us our last prognosis, let's not -- let's not engage in another one.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

And:

QUESTION: Right here.

(LAUGHTER)

How you doing?

And:

OBAMA: Hold on a second, Helen. That's -- that's a different question.

(LAUGHTER)

Can't you just feel Obama's burning frustration?

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