Friend of Media Nation Jon Keller has written a post at Beatthepress.org in which he endorses Dana Milbank’s account in the Washington Post of President Obama’s “prepackaged entertainment” at Tuesday’s White House news conference.
As you may already know, Obama called on Nico Pitney of the Huffington Post, saying, “I know that there may actually be questions from people in Iran who are communicating through the Internet. Do you have a question?”
I don’t want to provide too much set-up before turning this over to you, but here is what Pitney wrote for HuffPo about what happened. Pitney says that though he was invited to prepare a question based what Iranians had been talking about online, no one at the White House knew what he was going to ask; and that though he was, indeed, escorted into the briefing room, he had been told ahead of time that there was no guarantee he’d be called on.
Now, I have two questions for you, which I want you to answer only after reading Keller, Milbank and Pitney.
1. If you relied solely on Milbank’s account, would it be your understanding that Obama knew what Pitney’s question would be?
2. Since, according to Pitney, Obama neither knew the question nor had promised to call on him, did either the president or his press operation do anything wrong, unethical or even disrespectful to the other reporters in the room?