Monday, September 21, 2009

If the President Speaks, Is It News?

PRESIDENT OBAMA SPOKE to five national networks on Friday, apparently talking about the same thing each time - his health care initiative. He did not talk about the ACORN scandal, and he did not allow Fox News, whose employees were recently busted inciting a partisan crowd, to participate in the series of one-on-one interviews.

Do you give the president air time to speak when he is so overtly controlling the message (and the media)? As always, this is not about politics - we are journalists, and we're skeptical of anyone in charge, regardless of political persuasion.

Just because the president speaks, is it news?

(The photo above is a composite created by the New York Times, cobbled together from images supplied by the White House)

11 comments:

Don Hoegg said...

I airing just one interview would have sufficed. Had I been the interviewer, I would have kept track of what the previous journalists had asked and tried to move my line of questioning in a different direction.

Aleks Molnar said...

I completely agree with Don, and propose my own question: was anything else important happening? All anyone hears about for the moment is health care, health care, Yale murder, health care, Afghanistan, health care. It's what's big right now, and hitting all major networks was a big feat for President Obama's health care reform plan - so yes, it's news.

And honestly, when was the last real big propaganda push by a president for what he really thought was best for the country? Kudos to President Obama for kickin' it old school.

F. Hilario said...

I agree with Don, as well. I think this is a problem in a lot of interviews, not only with the President, but with various celebrities. I remember watching interviews about Leona Lewis (don't judge) and in every interview they talked about how she used to work in a Pizza Hut and that she could speak with an American accent. The audience gets tired of hearing the same answers to the same questions and the interviewees are probably tired of telling the same stories over and over again. None of the interviews add depth or useful information to the situation most of the time and if they asked different questions the useful information wouldn't be ignored.

C.David Freitag said...

This reminds me of the descriptions I've heard of press junkets for actors in Hollywood when promoting a movie or event. Same thing over and over. Recycled garbage that ends up losing any value it had. Why can't the President address the nation and let each network decide what they want to air or hold a round table discussion with all the anchors in one room? I don't know much about broadcast, I am photoJ and I despise TV as a media source so maybe I have a negative bias towards anything I see, but I wish network coverage was much different. I do feel that when the President speaks, it is news. Despite what little power he actually wields, his words represent the oligarchy backing him. Or at least what those groups want us to think.

Anonymous said...

most of what the president has to say is news. if it has to do with health care, then yes i believe it is news. thats an extremely important topic today

Former J1111 Student said...

The president controlling the message and who hears it, though, is terrible. Not allowing Fox News to be there? That isn't good at all.

NewsNut said...

I'm a shocked, though I probably shouldn't be, regarding the ACORN scandal. I was originally very skeptical of the film student and his reasons for conducting his experiment and why Fox was the only news outlet to air the video. I think this could have been indicative of many things. First things first, I fear the media isn't covering the Obama administration objectively. I feel that the Bush administration dictated information and controlled the media to their advantage and I believe the Obama admin. is doing the same thing. There is no real transparency, though that is a great deal of what the Obama campaign was based on. The lack of transparency has given birth to a climate of distrust and discomfort; thus I sense the skepticism of the Obama Admin building in American. Whether these feelings are justified or not they are impeding the majority of the countries ability to be receptive to any message Obama is attempting to give. So yes, I do believe that when the President of the "Free world"v speaks it is news. However, I do fear that his message could be missed as viewers are less apt to hear him.

C.David Freitag said...

Politicians lie. That's their job. You can analyze the spin and possibly get an idea of the true message but not if you don't listen. So yes, we should give the President airtime despite his overt control of the message.

"All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth." - F.W.N.

Dalia Ghazal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wafai Dias said...

When the President speaks about issues regarding Society then that's news. Now if he's speaking about something that doesn't regard society, then it shouldn't be news because he needs his privacy too.

NewsNut said...

CDF,
I completely agree. Politicians are purposefully deceitful. However, the question resides, is their purpose self serving or not.