The White House press corps complained on Wednesday that they have been given very little information and access on the crisis in Egypt from the administration. In a letter from the White House Correspondents Association to Robert Gibbs they said that the administration hasn’t been very forthcoming recently on this issue:
Prior to the president’s statement Tuesday night, the press corps had not received a substantive update from the White House all day on the situation in Egypt. In addition, the press corps did not have an on-camera briefing, or an off-camera gaggle, with you yesterday to ask the White House about its decision-making process during this major foreign policy crisis. Now for two straight days, the full press pool is being shut out of events that typically have been open and provided opportunities try to ask the president a question.
The letter also took issue with the lack of access for Obama’s signing of the new START Treaty:
On behalf of the White House Correspondents Association we are writing to protest in the strongest possible terms the White House’s decision to close the president’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and his signing of the START Treaty today to the full press pool.
The START treaty was held up as one of the president’s most important foreign policy priorities for almost a year dating back to the trip to Prague last spring. We are concerned that now his signing of it is open to still photographers but closed to editorial, including print and wire reporters and television cameras.
In response Gibbs told reporters on Wednesday that the situation was “fluid and dynamic” making updates difficult and promised to update them as best as he could but said some things need to be “done away from the TV cameras.”
In other words Obama was planning to throw Mubarak under the bus and allow the destabilization of the region but didn’t want the press to know in advance.
As for the START Treaty squabble, Gibbs said it was due to his fear that reporters would shout questions about Egypt to Obama disrupting the event.
Even though I am not a fan of the press in general, I do think they understand that a treaty signing is more about pomp and circumstance rather than a press conference. Furthermore, Gibbs wouldn’t have to fear reporters shouting questions if he had just given them information in advance.
After being in office for two years one would think the administration would know how to handle a foreign policy crisis and the press.
h/t The Hill