Ron Suskind, white house press reporter and author of The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill discusses the White House’s poor management of the press:
Insider. Ron Suskind talks to a student about issues in his book, which has garnered national attention.
Ron Suskind, author of the recent controversial book on former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, and Michael Barone, senior writer for the U.S. News & World Report, argued politics in a heated discussion as part of the Annenberg series “Dean’s Open Forum,” on Thursday.
The forum was hosted by Geoffrey Cowan, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, and featured an open discussion about the possible outcomes of the upcoming presidential election and the current policies of the Bush administration, including the handling of the press and the war in Iraq.
One of Suskind’s most severe critiques of Bush was not only Bush’s lack of press conferences but also his management of those conferences.
For each press conference, the White House press secretary asks the reporters for their questions, selects six or seven of the questions to answer and those reporters are the only ones called upon to ask their questions during the press conference, Suskind said.
This system makes it so that the president has answers already prepared for questions that he knows will be asked, Suskind said.
“He needs unmanaged time in front of the nation right now,” Suskind said. “The White House has to engage in a way that it hasn’t engaged in before.”
Suskind also said that the White House uses intimidation to force writers into only writing favorable stories about the administration.
“If you write something the White House doesn’t like, they take you in and say, ‘If you ever write something like you did today, nobody from the White House will ever talk to you again,'” Suskind said. “(The White House is) pissed, and … angry.”