While Robert Gibbs may be becoming the August cable poster boy, the President has been meeting the press.
Last Thursday, eleven White House reporters sat down with President Obama for an off-the-record lunch. The President has talked off-the-record recently with commentators like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, so what makes it so newsworthy this time?
Is it because it took some digging to find out who the Lunching 11 were? The Upshot outed them last week (Associated Press, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, Politico, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and USA Today). Or is it because the New York Times has been so outspoken about refusing the White House invite?
Times reporter Peter Baker tells Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post these off-the-record sessions are “to be avoided if possible. It can too easily turn into a substitute for on-the-record….”
“We’re not trying to be haughty,” he adds, but “White House reporters get relatively few opportunities to talk to the president on the record.”