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Wasted Questions


The video has officially gone viral: Many Americans have now seen the clip of President-elect Obama cutting off Chicago Tribune reporter John McCormick (who, incidentally, is said to be one of the journalists Governor Blagojevich wanted sacked) when he summoned the audacity to ask a series of questions pertaining to the Illinois corruption scandal.  Obama made it clear that he would not answer any questions about Blagojevich, his alleged Senate seat auction, or the nature of the White House transition team’s contact with the disgraced Illinois Democrat.    Obama has been confronted with precious few hostile questions during his dizzying sprint to the White House, so the handful of examples are fairly easy to remember.  Yesterday’s huffy exchange evokes memories of a similar flare-up with reporters late in the Democratic primaries. At a press conference in early March, a trio of Chicago-based reporters asked candidate Obama for a thorough explanation of his ties to another corrupt Chicago political operator. Back then, it was Tony Rezko, a slumlord influence-peddler who would later be convicted on 16 federal counts.  Rezko raised six figures for Obama’s various campaigns over the years, and played a significant role  in the purchase of Obama’s southside mansion, so it was hardly surprising that some in the press took an interest in Rezko’s dealings with a top presidential hopeful.   Unfortunately for the media, their tough questions didn’t appeal to Obama, so he ended the presser.  As he walked away, the Windy City contingent of reporters shouted in protest, prompting Obama to shrug and reply, “Come on guys, I just answered, like, eight questions,” before hurrying out of the room.   After the “eight questions” interaction and yesterday’s “wasted question” incident, it appears that some mainstream journalists are finally waking up to the fact that they need to “get tougher” in their Obama coverage.  If only they had seen the light, say, six months ago.


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