April 16, 2010

Awww, poor Dana Milbank. He's a little bit peeved about being left out of the Nuclear Safety Summit, and he thinks we should all feel vewy, vewy sorry for him as we shake our fists at the man who just led an historical meeting with several significant breakthroughs.

In the middle of it all was Obama -- occupant of an office once informally known as "leader of the free world" -- putting on a clinic for some of the world's greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press.

The only part of the summit, other than a post-meeting news conference, that was visible to the public was Obama's eight-minute opening statement, which ended with the words: "I'm going to ask that we take a few moments to allow the press to exit before our first session."

Reporters for foreign outlets, admitted for the first time to the White House press pool, got the impression that the vaunted American freedoms are not all they're cracked up to be.

My heart bleeds for him. The utter inability of mainstream reporters -- especially White House reporters -- to get even the simplest facts down with even a semblance of accuracy speaks volumes to the wisdom of the President's decision.

Does Milbank imagine reporters bearing witness to the discussion leading to the agreement with China to pressure Iran? What role does he think he or any other reporter could have played in creating an atmosphere where good-faith decisions and discussions about one of the most important global issues of our time could be made?

And while I'm at it, where was Milbank when our economy was melting down? Was he out interviewing financial executives, listening in on the meetings taking place on Capitol Hill? Why isn't he more outraged about the closed-door meeting Senator Mitch McConnell had with Wall Street honchos this morning? Does he imagine that to be something we might care about?

Yet, for Milbank, not being admitted into the inner sanctum of high-level international brainstorming sessions is akin to having his freedom stripped. Maybe he should earn that right with some real reporting instead of relying on snark and whining for his page views.

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