At the presser on Wednesday, several correspondents questioned the way the Oval Office selected questions from the for today’s virtual town hall.
President Barack Obama answered pre-selected questions Wednesday afternoon about health care sent in from emails, Facebook and Twitter. CBS’ Chip Reid and columnist Helen Thomas thought this reflected a lack of at the White House.
“It feels like the concept of a town hall, I think, is to have an open public forum. And this sounds like a very tightly controlled audience and list of questions. Why do it that way?” asked Reid.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs deflected the question, but that only raised the ire of Helen Thomas, UPI’s veteran correspondent who has long been at the top of the White House press corps totem pole.
“We have never had that in the White House,” Thomas said, referring to the degree that press events are pre-scripted in the Obama administration. “I’m amazed, I’m amazed at you people who called for openness and transparency…”