Wash. Times' Curl disproves his own attacks on Obama

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Even by Washington Times standards, Joseph Curl's column today is notable for its use of completely bogus assertions in order to try to make Barack Obama look bad.

Take a look at this passage, for example:

None of it mattered, though, because Mr. Obama called reporters from a list on the podium, and reporters buzzed afterward about how he didn't seem to know a single reporter he called on - at least in the front row.

"And let me go to Jennifer Loven at AP," the president said, looking to his left, and then back a row or two before finding the AP reporter front and center, about eight feet from the podium. "Ah, there you are."

"Caren Bohan of Reuters?" he said after finishing a long economics tutorial. He looked left and right before finding the red-headed reporter - right next to Miss Loven.

"All right. Chuck Todd. Where's Chuck?" Mr. Obama said before finding the goateed reporter in the third row. "Ed Henry. Where's Ed? CNN. There he is," he said shortly after Mr. Henry stood up. "Major Garrett. Where is Major?" he said before finding the reporter back in the cheap seats.

Curl claims the buzz was that Obama didn't seem to know the reporters he called on. But the evidence he provides actually proves the opposite. Curl thinks he's describing Obama not knowing who the reporters are - but he isn't; he's describing Obama not knowing where the reporters are sitting. Indeed, Curl's examples indicate that Obama does know the reporters - if he didn't know who they are, he wouldn't have found them.

Elsewhere, Curl complains that "Sam Stein of the archly liberal Huffington Post" and the "unabashedly liberal" Ed Schultz were seated in the front row. But Curl's complaint isn't that ideological reporters were seated in the front row; his complaint is that liberal reporters were in the front row. See, Curl is also upset that "Fox News' Major Garrett was dispatched to the fourth row, far to the right of the presidential podium." Given Fox's track record, they should be relieved that anyone still plays along with the idea that they're a news organization rather than annoyed that they had to suffer the indignity of sitting in the fourth row at a press conference.

Finally, Curl lead his column with several paragraphs about members of the black press who were upset that they didn't get to ask a question. Curl noted:

While most on the front row got to pose a question to President Obama, the two reporters from the black press did not. Nor did any other black-press reporter, for that matter.

Now, that's fine as far as it goes, and Curl presumably didn't make up the quotes he included from two reporters complaining that they didn't get to ask a question. But it is more than a little odd that Curl didn't note until the very end of the column, after the nonsense about Obama not knowing the reporters that he called on, that Obama took questions from two black reporters:

The president ticked through all the usual suspects, calling on the three wires and all five networks before hitting The Washington Post and New York Times, both of whom sent black reporters. The only other question from outside the box was from NPR.

"Mara Liasson?" the president said as he scanned the crowd.

Politico is amplifying Curl's column (can Drudge be far behind?) -- and actually out-did Curl in one regard, asserting: "At the presser, one black reporter did get called on, The Wash Post's Michael Fletcher." Actually, it was two: Fletcher and Helene Cooper of the New York Times.

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
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