Helen Thomas, a White House briefing room vet and Hearst News Service columnist, to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs just now (according to tweets from both the Washington Times’s Chrisina Bellantoni and The Nation’s David Corn… so, you know, “unverified material” for now):

I’m amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency…It’s a pattern of controlling the press. Your formal engagements are pre-packaged.

The exchange began when CBS News’s Chip Reid asked Gibbs how questions were selected for today’s health care town hall event and Gibbs, Twitters Corn, “pushes back at charge of WH control of process” and “Helen jumps in.”

The AP describes today’s town hall as an “online event… at Northern Virginia Community College in….Annandale, Va., which will include questions from those in the school’s auditorium” and questions from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.”


Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.