Further Thoughts on Mr. Cellophane

Megan’s already made the most important points about that odd “White House Memo” in today’s New York Times, but just to add one more: The idea that President Barack Obama may be holding too many press conferences and conducting too many interviews is especially strange because his predecessor faced exactly the opposite criticism. From a 2003 Times story by Richard W. Stevenson:

Mr. Bush almost never holds formal news conferences. Instead, he frequently takes a few questions from reporters, especially after meetings with foreign leaders. He has a strict rule: he calls on two American reporters and his counterpart calls on two reporters from the other country’s press corps…

…Mr. Bush’s two-question rule variously annoys and infuriates White House reporters, who have started to rebel. On Wednesday, when Mr. Bush and [South African President Thabo] Mbeki held their “media availability” on the lush lawn of the presidential complex in Pretoria, many of the reporters on the trip chose not to attend, figuring they would not get a chance to ask a question anyway.

Is there some happy medium out there that will leave everyone satisfied?

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.