At a meeting of the White House press corps, the participants were to discuss a new way of engaging the President during his news conferences. The Washington Post reporter had sent a proposal to all participants, so they were familiar with the plan.
N.Y.Times: Folks, I don’t think my Editor’s would approve of this plan.
Cable News: Yeh. I am certain, my boss would say forget it.
BBC Reporter: I was curious at first, and then I became enthused by the possibility.
Jewish Post: As I understand the proposal, when the President asks us for any questions, we will not offer any question, or any comment. Is that the case?
Washington Post: Simply put – that’s it. The President turns to us, and asks if we have any questions. We just sit, mum. You can look at the President, but not a comment. Not a word.
CNN: What do I do when he asks me a direct question.
Washington Post: Mary, the likelihood that he will ask you anything is zero.
CNN: You’re probably right. Well what does one do when asked a direct comment or question by the President.
BBC: You do nothing. Just stare back with an expression that indicates you heard the man. But you say nothing.
LosAngeles Times: Even he will get the idea. What if he says, I quess you people, you fake people have nothing to say. Is that it? No questions? No comments?
Boston Globe: Mum. We do not respond to the President no matter what he says. If he does his rude thing, we say, nor do nothing.
New York Times: Look. For months when you ask a question, he either lies, or avoids an answer, goes into a song and dance, or dumps on you. I have had it!
Fox News: This idea is gonna get you fired. No way is your boss gonna accept this.
Huffington Post: My unfortunate replacement will do exactly the same. For once we will show that the press has ‘balls’. We are done being pawns. It’s over!
Fox News: I don’t think I can do this. I don’t mind his questions.
Philadelphia Enquirer: Okay- you can handle all his stuff. Go for it. No problem.
Washington Post: If he has other persons speak, no response to questions asked by them either.
Jewish Post: What do we report? What is the news?
New York Times: Write whatever you’d like. Report what he said. Just the facts – just the facts.
Cable News: I’m all in. I love it!
CNN: A one time thing?
Washington Post: No way. This is through every news conference. We will report what he says, and what others say, and that is it. Think about it and get back to me. Thanks for coming.
Tom Golden, writers cramp, 2020