I’m going to get to what it means that the AP–purportedly the most neutral source of "news" out there–is harping on the Nico Pitney question. But first, check out what this "news" entity claims in paragraph nine of their story–presumably to meet the AP’s requirement for false equivalency.
Grumblings about favored reporters are not unique to the Obama White House. There were suspicions — never proved — that President George W. Bush’s press operations often planted friendly questions in his news conferences.
They not only planted friendly questions in their news conferences, they brought in their very own gay prostitute to ask those questions. Not to mention paying people like Armstrong Williams to push their policies and flying their favorite Generals around so they’d pitch the Administration line on teevee.
But in the false equivalency moral universe of the AP, allowing a reporter who has announced he’s going to solicit questions from Iranians directly to pose one of those questions is the big scandal.
White House officials phoned a blogger from a popular left-leaning Web site on Monday evening to tell him that President Barack Obama had been impressed with his online reporting about Iran. Could the writer pass along a question from an Iranian during the president’s news conference on Tuesday?
Of course. The next day, The Huffington Post’s Nico Pitney got a prime location in the White House Briefing Room and was the second reporter Obama picked for a question.
And so the supposedly hyper-neutral arbiter of what is news joins the pout-rage that the journalist doing the best work on a story gets to pose a question on that topic.
It’s bad enough that Fox and Politico are–predictably–bitching about this. For the AP to consider this "news" at all just shows how far gone the press is in protecting their privilege over embracing the spirit of journalism. Once again, the White House took this question because:
- Nico’s reporting and the role of Twitter in the Iranian crisis are signature moments showing how technology can foster democracy (which is pretty much Obama’s schtick, anyway)
- That same technology offered average people on the other side of the world–the people actually involved in this historic event–a way to pose the President of the United States a question about their actions