President and unaccountable

Now even liberal media are complaining about Obama’s end run around press corps

"He got the best press known to man. Let's face it."

-- Former magazine editor Tina Brown

"In the history of civilization!"

-- Media critic Howard Kurtz

Agreed. So why has Barack Obama avoided facing the White House press corps in a formal press conference since last July?

It comes down to one word: Strategery.

Mr. Obama has found that he can control both the medium and the message by only agreeing to interviews with friendly journalists, of which there are plenty to be had. He is said to abhor Fox News Channel, for instance, and avoids it like the plague.

But now, even his fawning friends in the "mainstream" media are grumbling.

"The decision to bypass the White House press corps is no accident," says Kurtz, a Washington Post columnist and CNN commentator.

Once again, the White House is targeting friendly journalists so the president can interact totally on his own terms.

It may be just a coincidence, but the president hasn't faced the press corps as a group since his poorly-thought-out indictment of Cambridge police in the infamous Henry Gates case.

"A press corps that periodically complained about George W. Bush's infrequent news conferences should not let Obama walk away from the practice unchallenged," Kurtz writes.

With even the left-wing media complaining -- including ultra-liberal columnist Helen Thomas saying the president has gone "obscenely long" without a press conference -- expect one soon, beyond the impromptu one Tuesday. But it's clear that nothing defines this administration -- in both policy and process -- so much as the term "control freaks."

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