LEN TRIA, Uncommon SenseAfter almost ¾ of a year the president finally holds a press conference but the press fails to show up. I mean they physically showed up but not journalistically.
Published: November 18, 2012
Published: November 18, 2012
In the world of politics and press when the press fawns over someone they find a way to either not ask a probing question or they simply ask a non-consequential one. That is what happened on Wednesday when the president was served up a bunch of softball questions that made for one of the dullest press conferences in recent memory.
When queried about Benghazi and not when did he know and what did he do he instead was asked what was his view on when the FBI should inform the president on matters affecting national security. The rambling answer took more than five minutes and only repeated what has become a standard reply "it's under investigation, I can't discuss it now."
It did get a little dicey when the president was asked what he thought about Sen. Graham (R-SC) and Sen. McCain (R-AZ) saying they would work to block the nomination of Susan Rice if she was nominated to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
This of course prompted by the fact that Ambassador Rice went on five national news programs after the Sept. 11th attack on our embassy and stated it was a result of a video. In sworn testimony after that State Department officials stated it was a terrorist attack.
The president became somewhat indignant and stated that Rice had been sent out by the administration and what she told the country was what she had been told. That then begs the question why Ambassador Rice instead of someone from the State Department?
Who told her what the facts were that she repeated to the nation? Of course the compliant press did not ask these questions or any follow-up ones. The president then went on for ten minutes defending Ms. Rice and how it was a terrible thing to impugn her veracity and quite frankly "me thinks he doth protest too much."
Finally, in a truly confrontational move dared the two senators to come after him rather than Ambassador Rice and he was ready for them; he then removed his Sir Galahad mask and went on to other business. That was about the most interesting or should I say least boring part of the press conference.
What is evidently clear is that the fourth estate must have been sleeping through the lecture about how to ask questions and then how to follow-up with another question until you get a substantive and believable answer. This is certainly not the era of the probing and inquisitive press that will dig deep with penetrating and sometime provocative questions. However, that may change if the person being questioned is a Republican as Sam Donaldson so aptly demonstrated.
Len Tria, a regular columnist for Hernando Today, lives in Spring Hill and is a former Hernando County commissioner.