New issue of Capitol File has a feature on the multiple 40-and-under members of the White House Correspondents Assn.
The White House Correspondents Association “represents the White House press corps in its dealings with the administration on coverage-related issues,” the WHCA Web site says. Spearheading that duty is the WHCA president — currently Jennifer Loven, who covers 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for the Associated Press.
What does the duty involve? “As president of the association, you’re the go-to person between the White House and the reporters,” past-president Steve Scully of C-Span tells WHCInsider. (Loven declined to talk.)
“You mediate on issues like travel, or seating, on just about everything,” Scully continues. “And you really have to ride herd on the White House to get answers on anything that might come up.”
If anyone can get answers, it’s likely Loven. As NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd recently told WHCInsider, “Jennifer Loven decides when the briefings begin and end. [White House press secretary] Robert Gibbs knows. When it appears the pertinent questions of the day have been asked and everybody has gotten a shot, she closes it down.” [Read more…]
Video of the WH press corps suddenly jumping to its feet when President Obama made a surprise visit to the briefing room last week has been stirring up the blogosphere. Why? Because it’s paired with a vid of the press corps remaining seated when Bush once entered the briefing room. CNN’s Jeanne Moos investigated. Check out the video below to see what she found.
In part 3 of our interview with The Examiner’s Julie Mason and ABC News’ Jake Tapper – a former print reporter for Salon.com – tell WHCInsider that televising the White House briefing may be bad for journalism.
“An argument can be made while televising the briefing, while wonderful in the interest of transparency, actually hurts the interest of journalism being committed,” said Tapper. “It becomes a show,” added Mason. “And often time’s reporters are judged on the questions they ask during the briefing, when it’s such a tiny part of what we do. It sort of becomes counterproductive.”
Most of the White House correspondents’ work is done outside the regular press briefings … and both Tapper and Mason joked that they had “occasionally fettered access” outside the scheduled briefings.
Go behind the scenes at the White House briefing room here.
In Part 2 of our interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper and The Examiner’s Julie Mason, the White House correspondents tell WHCInsider that the Obama administration’s Briefing Room is not much different than when President Bush was in office.
It’s a “different vibe,” said Mason, “but in terms of the access we get and the information, it’s very much the same.” Tapper said the Obama White House is an improvement over the Obama campaign – staffers can’t “dodge” reporters so easily: “[They’re] much more accessible here, because they’re right here as opposed to on the phone.”
Does that mean Ana Marie Cox got it wrong, when she said White House correspondents are not necessary?
“Has Ana Marie Cox ever covered the White House,” asked Mason. “I’m not sure what her credentials are … she was there for the dog story.”
“Having a vigilant press corps in that room is definitely necessary,” Tapper added diplomatically. “I didn’t find her piece particularly persuasive.”
A Preview of the 2012 Presidential Race?
Fox News analyst and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich trashed the White House press corps during a Friday appearance on Greta Van Sustern’s show, “On The Record.” Gingrich claimed the White House correspondents have “taken such a pathetic dive with this President that they ought to be part of his PR firm. I mean it’s embarrassing to watch.”
Republicans have often railed against a perceived left-wing bias among mainstream media reporters and it appears they’ll continue that refrain during the Obama administration, but will it be a major campaign theme for Republicans?
In the interview, conducted at Mount Vernon, Gingrich quipped: “If you didn’t know better, you’d think that he was practicing with his own public affairs people for the future press conferences. These look like practice sessions; they don’t look like real press conferences.”
Barack Obama is known to prepare his speeches skillfully and, when appropriate, with an occasional shot of humor. Doubtlessly he’ll be working up some good lines for his address to the 2009 WHCD — cracking jokes is part of the tradition. But for Wanda Sykes, the dinner’s entertainment this year, cracking on something — or somebody — just seems to come naturally.
Below are results from a quick Web search for some of her recent one-liners.
To a Los Angeles audience welcoming her with a standing ovation: “Oh, come on, it ain’t like you never seen a black lesbian before.” -The Advocate
On people opposed to gay marriage: “Why do you care that Bob and Jim are getting married, unless you were planning on [having sex with] Bob or Jim?” -The Advocate
On fame: “I guess because of my act, people think that I say things they want to say, and that they can just come up and say anything to me. That bugs me. But I’d rather have people come up and want to meet me than have them ignore me. It’s just timing. Don’t bother me while I’m eating, or when I’m coming out of the crackhouse or something. Just let me get going.” – The Onion
On random searches at airport security: “There’s nothing random about it. You get to the gate and they’re standing there with their Sherwin-Williams paint chart. If your ass is darker than khaki, you’re getting searched.” -Entertainment Weekly
On President George W. Bush: “Either he’s retarded or he thinks we’re retarded” – The Advocate
Got a favorite Wanda-ism? Maybe from a movie or TV show she’s been in, or maybe you caught her stand-up act and remember one or two that made you really laugh?
Let us know in a comment.
White House Correspondents tell WHCInsider.com that Gibbs’ briefing room nickname is “The Gibbsnotist” for his ability to “bring the temperature down” and put some correspondents to sleep.
Watch ABC News WH reporter Jake Tapper and veteran WH reporter, The Examiner’s Julie Mason, on reporting from the front and back rows of the White House briefing room. Tapper talks about the change in his relationship with Press Secretary Gibbs from the campaign to the very public daily briefings. Both agree that WHC tweets are not news but a good source of information. The tweeting birds you hear in the background were not added in post but birds serenading the WH north lawn.
Chuck Todd Said to be in Line for New MSNBC Weekend Political Program
That’s what the New York Observer is reporting on its Web site, citing “multiple network sources.” Todd, once a contender to succeed the late Tim Russert on “Meet the Press,” will start hosting a new show the cable channel will debut later this spring. The idea is to give Todd “more experience as a political moderator,” according to the story.
Rails Against WH Use of Stock Photography and More…..
Dennis Brack is one of those people whose work you’ve seen maybe more times than you can count, even though you’ve probably never heard of him. Ditto his more than 400 colleagues.
Brack is president of the White House News Photographers Association, the camera-bug counterpart to the White House Correspondents Association. Ever since Lyndon B. Johnson laid claim to the Oval Office back in the 1960s, Brack has been snapping pics of presidents and pretty much anyone else of importance at the White House — with notable success.