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Obama Makes Gray Lady Weep

January 14, 2009

Ok, I admit, on other days this might get dismissed as a non-story indicating mostly that Calderone is bored. But while what you do often gets a lot of attention, what you do not do can be just as revealing. Especially when you are the President-elect who campaigned with the promise of creating the most transparent government evah! but so far didn’t really back the claimed intention with your actions.

Unlike recent White House occupants—such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton—Obama has yet to provide The Times with the sort of free-wheeling, pre-Inauguration interview the paper’s come to expect. And there’s little expectation it will happen before Tuesday.

“We would certainly like it to happen,” said Times political editor Dick Stevenson, “but the days are running short at this point.”

Stevenson said that although The Times has put in multiple requests to the Obama team, and “pointed out the historical precedent for this,” they’ve had no luck securing a sit-down.

When asked about the Times requests, incoming Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that they’ve “answered more questions, from more reporters, than any transition has done in the history of the country, throughout our announcement process.”

For the sake of argument, let’s accept the statement by Gibbs and let’s not consider that allowing for a short Q and A session after a presser is not the same as sitting down for a one-on-one interview with the journalist setting the agenda. The question why M Obama doesn’t give the NYT her interview remains. It wouldn’t hurt Obama to prevent the dent in the self-esteem of the (already pinched because junk-rated) Gray Lady by continuing the “tradition” of the pre-inauguration interview and to answer some straight-forward questions. Or would it?

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