Ellen Weiss, NPR's vice president for news, said she "felt strongly" that "the White House shouldn't be selecting the person." She said NPR told Bush's press secretary, Dana Perino, that "we're grateful for the opportunity to talk to the president but we wanted to determine who did the interview." When the White House said the offer could not be transferred to one of NPR's program hosts, Weiss took a pass.
Notice in the Kurtz piece he never talks about Williams being O'Reilly's chief apologist, but rather prints only his opinions that would seem to make him a good choice for the interview. Here's Williams comparing David Letterman to John Wayne Gacy, the clown killer, because he called BillO out and said "I have the feeling that about 60 percent of what you say is crap". (h/t MM for the video) I wish Juan stood up all the time like he does against Kristol on FNS.
How much control should the White House have over who gets to interview President Bush? Specifically, should Bush be able to dictate which journalists at which outlets he talks to?----Given how meticulously the White House picks and grooms Bush's audiences to avoid any unpleasantness, it should come as no surprise that the press office is very careful about who gets to interview Bush.---
Somewhat tellingly, Williams served as Bill O'Reilly's sympathetic foil during the Fox News anchor's bizarre quasi-racist rant last week about his visit to a black restaurant and his observation that, to his apparent surprise, the patrons weren't running around screaming like addled rappers.
Would other news organizations allow the White House to determine who on their staffs would be allowed to interview the president? Would any responsible newspaper accept such conditions? I hardly think so.