President Obama has held just one full length, multi-topic, solo press conference in the last six months, effectively abolishing the most accessible venue for American citizens to observe the thinking and learn the views of their leader.
It’s May, and the president has stood for only a single such news conference this year, a March 6 event in the briefing room. He’s had only three since last June, counting a November press conference in Hawaii that was supposed to be devoted to the just-held Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit but which veered off into other issues.
Nor does Obama generally allow questioning during brief appearances at the White House, such as when he makes statements with foreign leaders. Previous presidents, including George W. Bush, routinely took a couple of questions on the topic of the day at such gatherings.
Obama doing what he loves best at a press conference.
Bush also held fewer press conferences than he should have. But this doesn’t excuse Obama, who would seem especially obligated to appear before the press given his pledges to maintain an “openness” administration.
Instead, the White House does its best to control access to Obama, presenting him to local and sometimes national reporters in “one-on-one” settings.
While these sessions occasionally do make news, they are poor substitute for formal press conferences. The local reporters are often not as well versed in the subtleties of national and international news as White House reporters and are more likely to be intimidated when suddenly finding themselves sitting in the White House interviewing the president.
Read the rest at White House Dossier