An Interview With President Obama? Sure!


And Here Is The Question You Will Ask Him.

This is how the President of the United States intimidates hometown radio, TV and print media reporters and winds up with a free, ten minute infomercial.

You first contact a friendly network affiliate in a market you wish to deliver a political message.  You then have your campaign committee contact the reporter who will be “privileged to interview the President”.  You then quite forcefully “suggest” the ground rules for said interview.

Given the fact the reporter and President will spend fewer than ten minutes total time together, the opportunity to ask more than one question becomes extremely small, and the President knows the question (because he dictated it to the reporter) and his answer will take up most of that ten minutes!

Keith Koffler has a post up about this very topic at White House Dossier.

“The White House is doing something with its local TV interviews that it could not easily get away with in encounters with the White House press corps, which President Obama has been studiously ignoring: choosing the topic about which President Obama and the reporter will talk.

In interviews with three local TV stations Monday, two from states critical to Obama’s reelection effort, Obama held forth on the possibility of “sequestration” if he and Congress fail to reach a budget deal, allowing him to make his favorite political point that Republicans are willing to cause grievous harm to the economy and jobs in order to protect the rich from tax increases.

Obama Monday threw the White House press corps a bone by suddenly appearing in the briefing room for 22 minutes and taking questions from a total of four reporters.  It was his first press conference at the White House – albeit in miniature – since March, and only his second of the year. Obama before Monday had taken exactly one substantive question from White House reporters since June.

But the three other interviews Obama also held Monday pointed to the advantage he gets by focusing on local press, with whom he has been speaking more regularly.

Under sequestration, if a budget deal is not reached by the end of the year, harsh automatic spending cuts will occur.  Each of the network reporters were from cities with major military facilities that could be unduly impacted if sequestration occurs.

Two of the reporters were from Norfolk, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida, both presidential battleground states. The third was from San Diego.

The reporters mostly made no effort to hide the arrangement.  “The president invited me to talk about sequestration,” NBC 7 San Diego’s reporter told her audience.  In the interview, she set Obama up with a perfectly pitched softball the president couldn’t have been more eager to take a swing at:

“What do you want individual San Diegans to know about sequestration?” she asked.”

How’s that for Pulitzer consideration journalism?

The cost of a one minute television commercial varies greatly, depending on the size of the market and Neilson ratings that particular station currently holds, but it’s never cheap – well, unless you pull a stunt like this and get it FREE.

Read the entire piece by Keith Koffler, at White House Dossier, by clicking right here.