Helen Thomas: Nixon Didn't Try to Control Press Like This

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2009 4:12 PM CDT
Helen Thomas, in November.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Helen Thomas has covered a lot of presidents, and she’s not much of a fan of how the current one manages the press. The 89-year-old reporter tells CNS that Obama’s White House tries to stage-manage news conferences and other media events like no other. “Nixon didn’t try to do that,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try.”

She cites the recent example of the White House calling a Huffington Post reporter to give him a heads-up that he’d be allowed to ask a question, and CNS carries a transcript of her snippy exchange with press chief Robert Gibbs on the subject. “I’m not saying there has never been managed news before, but this is carried to fare-thee-well—for the town halls, for the press conferences,” she said. “It’s blatant.”