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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 25, 2013/ 22 Teves, 5774

A New Year's Resolution to revitalize presidential press conferences

By Martin Schram




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On one side of the podium stood the leader of the free world. On the other side, the presumably elite representatives of the world's freest press, with a world of facts at their fingertips.

And between them, as always, a host of crises, controversies, misstatements and mistakes were demanding their rightful place in democracy's spotlight - right now! This was, after all, the latest exercise of that infrequent democratic institution known as the presidential press conference. 'Twas the Friday before Christmas, and all through the press room that Richard Nixon built atop of what once was the pool where JFK used to swim famously al fresco, a roomful of journalists was interrogating President Barack Obama with all the intensity and incisiveness that has made the White House press corps what it is today.

"... has this been the worst year of your presidency?" "...what do you think has been your biggest mistake?" "If I may just quickly, on a more personal note, what is your New Year's resolution?" For when it comes to pithy parody and satire, television's late night comedy writers can't match the comedic touch and timing of the Obama era presidential press conference. But wait - that non-zinger about the president's New Year's Resolution could have potential for us all. Usually, there's nothing as tree-wasting as yet another list of New Year's Resolutions. But this might be a bad idea that's time has come.

We have been witnessing the decline and fall of the presidential press conference as an institution of democracy and governance. And as one who covered presidents and their presidencies in years past, I know that our professionalism runs in cycles, much like that of the politicians we cover. And now we journalists are failing in our mission of seeking to put a president on the record about just what is happening and why it is happening.

So today let's propose one bold 2014 New Year's Resolution - a resolution specially tailored for the president and the White House press corps. Let 2014 be the year when those two erstwhile adversaries separately rethink and restore the professionalism that has been missing in their press conference performances.

First, both sides must recognize where they have jointly gone wrong. The president and press corps can start by reading past press conference transcripts. They will discover that on both sides of the podium, the press and the president have been wandering around before getting to the point. Also, reporters on the White House beat seem to have forgotten what they knew before they arrived at this elite White House beat: the best way to get a productive answer is to ask a concise, well-researched question that sticks to just one subject. And ask just one question.



Rambling, multi-part questions abound. It is the journalistic equivalent of handing the president a baseball and fungo bat and telling him to just hit it anywhere he wants. At the last press conference, one respected journalist actually asked what pretended to be a two part question - but it began with Obama's false healthcare promise that people can keep their policies and doctors if they like them, and then went on to ask about Iran sanctions.

But the president needed to be pinned down on his healthcare program's failures. Reporters only needed to ask him about recent front page news. Example: A Washington Post report about a fellow named John Gisler. He couldn't get continued coverage for his critically ill son under Obama's healthcare program after his policy was ended due to the program. Reporters could have asked: Why did your administration permit this to happen to Mr. Gisler's son and the many thousands of others with a similar problem? What can you do to fix their problems immediately?

Or: The page one coverage of middle class citizens that found their income is just above the cutoff for federal healthcare subsidies for lower income citizens - so Obama's Affordable Care Act now requires them to pay 50 percent more for healthcare insurance than they used to pay. Is that the way Obama wanted his program to work? Did he know his program would hurt the most those who can least afford it? What will he now say to those who have been hurt most by his program?

Our job as reporters is to make sure public officials are held accountable for their deeds and misdeeds. Whether at city hall, or the county zoning board, or the White House, our job is the same.

When we do it right, by focusing on facts and not our performing art, press conferences become important institutions of our democracy.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.


Previously:


12/04/13: U.N. nuclear fuel bank may save us from next Iran

11/27/13: We must not fool ourselves about Barack Hussein Carter

11/13/13: Let's honor our veterans by ending Veterans Day Sales

10/30/13: Could dyslexia be a 'desirable' disability?

09/18/13: Syria's big picture, as Vladimir Putin sees it

08/28/13: Kerry finally gets his moment to look presidential --- at least somebody is

08/08/13: Latest political scandals seem like reruns --- in fact, they seem like parodies of themselves

07/03/13: NSA reforms will come, securing liberty and homeland

07/03/13: As student loan rates double, Congress fails to act

06/05/13: Scandal chatter drowns out best and worst news

05/29/13: Obama vs. Obama

03/13/13: VA's growing backlog needs attention now

03/06/13: When a presidency and press corps collide

02/27/13: Washington unintentionally but predictably triggering a coast-to-coast tsunami, freezing job hiring

02/21/13: Cold War vestiges still afflict 2 nuclear cities

01/16/13: Turnabout sucks

01/09/13: Education must be America's new national security priority

11/29/12: Building a budgetary bridge to somewhere

11/24/12: Voters share blame for negative campaigns

10/24/12: Romney displays unusual strategy for winning

10/17/12: Russia drops a bombshell on U.S. nuclear safeguard plan and few notice

10/11/12: A new debate game plan for a new comeback

07/25/12: Washington news, sanitized for officials' comfort

07/18/12: By withholding, Mitt Romney taxes campaign

06/20/12: Cruel consequences spring from an old leak

06/13/12: Gaffes, not facts, dominate presidential race

06/06/12: Command decisions mark new era of video-game warfare

04/25/12: Safeguarding us all in the nuclear age

04/18/12: The battle for the honor of enraging us more

03/28/12: Eavesdropping on diplomacy and politics

02/22/12: Drawing Romney's big picture

01/25/12: Candidates proving that time-tested Marxist theory

01/12/12: Even with primaries still to go, history's longest year starts now

01/05/12: Iowa caucuses reveal news media lapses

12/14/11: How Gingrich stole Mitt's Christmas

11/16/11: Supercommittee's super-sized surrender

11/16/11: Romney talks Texas-tough on Iran

11/03/11: The Silent Majority speaks at last

10/20/11: Outsourcing our democracy; hijacking our holidays

10/13/11: Decline and fall of presidential press conferences

09/28/11: Washington's Monument to broken government

08/17/11: Tax credits for job creation

07/06/11: Obama's on-the-job retraining from Clinton

06/29/11: Obama, Nixon suddenly joined in posterity



© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE

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