President Obama's Final Message To The Press: You Can't Be Sycophants For Those In Power

Obama: The Press Is “Not Supposed To Be Sycophants" They Must “Push Those Of Us In Power To Be The Best Version Of Ourselves"

From President Barack Obama's January 18 Press Conference: 

Video file

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I have enjoyed working with all of you. That does not of course mean that I've enjoyed every story that you have filed, but that's the point of this relationship. You're not supposed to be sycophants, you're supposed to be skeptics, you're suppose to ask me tough questions, you're not suppose to be complimentary, but you're supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here and you have done that. And you have done it for the most part in ways that I could appreciate for fairness even if I didn't always agree with your conclusions.

 And having you in this building has made this work place better. It keeps us honest, makes us work harder. You have made us think about how we are doing what we do and whether or not we're able to deliver on what's been requested by our constituents, and for example, every time you asked why haven't you cured Ebola yet or why is there still that hole in the Gulf it has given me the ability to go back to my team and say  “will you get this solved before the next press conference.”

I spent a lot of time in my farewell address talking about the state of our democracy. It goes without saying that essential to that is a free press. That is part of how this place, this country, this grand experiment of self-government has to work. It doesn't work if we don't have a well-informed citizenry and you are the conduit through which they receive the information about what's taking place in the halls of power. So America needs you and our democracy needs you. We need you to establish a baseline of facts and evidence that we can use as a starting point for the kind of reasoned and informed debates that ultimately lead to progress. So my hope is that you will continue with the same tenacity that you showed us to do the hard work of getting to the bottom of stories and getting them right and to push those of us in power to be the best version of ourselves. And to push this country to be the best version of itself. I have no doubt that you will do so, I'm looking forward to being an active consumer of your work rather than always the subject of it. I want to thank you all for your extraordinary service to our democracy and with that I will take some questions.

Previously

Trump Wants To Flood White House Press Briefings With Sycophants And Propagandists

The Guide To Donald Trump's War On The Press (So Far)

Trump Just Shot Jim Acosta In The Middle Of Fifth Avenue And The Press Didn’t Blink