Saturday, August 12, 2006

Never too busy to Dodge the Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- On one of the scariest days yet in the five-year battle with terrorists, President Bush prepared to make a speech to reassure the American people. But the White House press corps was 1,000 miles away in Texas.

Bush had left his ranch vacation and jetted north for a scheduled closed-door fundraiser. No press plane accompanied him. And so when news broke that Britain had broken up a major terrorist plot, the only ones there to convey the president's reaction were a handful of local reporters and a few pool journalists who ride in the back of Air Force One.

The idea that Bush could travel across the country without a full contingent of reporters, especially in the middle of a war, highlights a major cultural shift in the presidency and the news media. In the four decades since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, presidents traditionally have taken journalists with them wherever they traveled on the theory that when it comes to the most powerful leader on the planet, anything can happen at any time.

1 comment:

brd said...

Having heard the NPR special on Crawford, Texas I am not surprised that the Press Corps would be hesitant to leave this mecca, this retreat paradise. Plus, probably some of them were helping out with the work on the new Crawford Ranch Press Room. (If that room isn't going to be finished for another year, do you wonder why this renovation is being done at all? I know I wonder what "W" has up his sleeve for a Presidential encore!!!)