White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spent almost five minutes at yesterday’s press briefing debating with World Net Daily correspondent Les Kinsolving as to what constitutes a press conference.
Kinsolving was echoing complaints from the media that the administration is attempting to bypass press conferences, in favor of releasing information via one-on-one interviews, group interviews with a select few reporters, or social media channels.
From the transcript:
Les Kinsolving: Thank you very much. In view of President Franklin Roosevelt’s 998 press conferences, why has President Obama held not a single White House press conference since last July?
MR. GIBBS: Lester, what would you – let me ask you this. Can I ask you just – I just have one question.
Les Kinsolving: You can ask me as many as you wish.
MR. GIBBS: Excellent. I’m just going to use one. When the President took eight questions from members of the White House press corps at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Washington Convention Center, what would you call that?
Les Kinsolving: That was not a press conference.
MR. GIBBS: What would you call it?
Les Kinsolving: It was a select few.
MR. GIBBS: A select few what?
Les Kinsolving: A select few reporters. It was not a White House press conference.
The debate went on and on as to the number of questions and/or reporters that must be present in order to constitute a press conference.
Other reporters at the daily briefing were clearly frustrated. One said “filibuster” in response to Gibbs going on about the numbers. Another said, “lets move on.”