Center for Citizen Media Rotating Header Image

Be Nice, Now, Says White House Press Corps

Editor & Publisher: WHCA Chief Says He Did Not Tell Comedian to Back Off Bush and Iraq. The Las Vegas Review-Journal now reports that (Rich) Little claimed he did not plan to even mention Iraq or to attack the president, implying that these were the wishes of the inviters. But Steve Scully, president of the White House Correspondents Association, told E&P Friday that the organization never asked Little to avoid subjects like Iraq or back off criticism of President Bush….

“I cannot be more clear that we never mentioned Iraq, we never gave him any guidelines,” says Scully, who is also a senior producer at C-SPAN. “The only thing we told him is that we want to follow the policy of the Gridiron Dinner, which is ‘singe, don’t burn’.”

Parse this carefully. It’s a non-denial denial from Scully. Plainly, Rich Little got a message, which may have been delivered obliquely but which nonetheless is understandable given its source.

The White House correspondents were embarrassed last year when Stephen Colbert had the temerity to challenge — with biting wit — the arrogance of the Bush administration and the docile non-performance of the press corps that, almost without exception, has served as a secretarial pool instead of watchdogs of the public interest. It makes perfect sense that “go along to get along” correspondents would prefer to return the annual dinner to its let’s-be-buddies role-playing.

Why should we expect anything different?

Comments are closed.